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Report: Ian Kinsler could be a fallback option for Dodgers

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According to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo, Tigers’ infielder Ian Kinsler could be a “possible fallback option” for the Dodgers if talks with Twins’ second baseman Brian Dozier continue to stall. This isn’t the first time the two have been connected, as the Dodgers reportedly made inquiries on Kinsler as early as last November. The Twins are rumored to be on the fence about dealing Dozier, however, which could up the Dodgers’ interest in working out a trade with the Tigers.

Kinsler, 34, polished off another productive season in 2016, racking up 5.8 fWAR while slashing .288/.348/.484 with 28 home runs in 679 PA. Aside from his sizable contributions at the plate, part of his appeal lies in his contract, which guarantees him $11 million for the 2017 season with a $10 million option (and $5 million buyout) for 2018. Although his salary figure shouldn’t break the bank, the Dodgers have reason to be wary, as Kinsler previously stated that he is unwilling to waive his partial no-trade clause without a contract extension.

Despite the potential difficulty in making a deal with the Dodgers, who happen to be one of the 10 teams on Kinsler’s no-trade list, no other teams have been seriously linked to the second baseman this winter. The Tigers are still looking to shed a hefty portion of their payroll, and Cafardo notes that they might also consider moving shortstop Jose Iglesias this winter in order to get under the luxury tax threshold.

Red Sox to extend protective netting at Fenway Park in 2018

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The Red Sox are the latest team to extend the protective netting at their ballpark this winter. According to a statement by club president Sam Kennedy, the exact dimensions of the netting have yet to be determined, but it will likely stretch “all the way to Field Box 79, down the left field line and then all the way down to almost Canvas Alley in the Field Box 9 area.”

Fenway Park received additional protective netting prior to the 2016 season, when the netting behind home plate was lengthened to the home and visitor dugouts. Per Kennedy’s statement, the current expansion should cover everything but the outfield corners, making it nearly impossible for a line drive foul to reach fans in the lower boxes.

After a toddler sustained serious injuries from a 105-MPH foul ball to the face at Yankee Stadium last September, over half of all MLB teams decided to take more extreme preventative measures in advance of the 2018 season. The Brewers, Cardinals, Braves, Astros, Royals, Pirates, Rangers, Padres, Nationals, Mariners, Phillies, Mets, Reds, Blue Jays, Giants, Yankees, Twins and Indians are among the organizations to address the issue over the last several years, while others have yet to take significant action.