MLB grants Mets extension for discussions with Takahashi

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As Aaron pointed out earlier today, the Mets have been working hard to get an extension on their deadline for contract talks with impending free agent Hisanori Takahashi.  A clause in the left-hander’s contract states that a deal must be worked between the two sides by October 31 of this year, but Takahashi changed agents recently and the Mets have argued that they should now be granted more time to sort out negotiations.

That extension was granted late Thursday evening, according to David Waldstein of the New York Times.

It’s not exactly clear how long the Mets will have to work out a deal, but Waldstein adds that preliminary discussions have “already begun.”

Takahashi, 35, posted a solid 3.61 ERA and 1.30 WHIP this season, working as both a starter and reliever.  He finished with 114 strikeouts in 122 innings and even saved eight games once closer Francisco Rodriguez was placed on the restricted list for assaulting his girlfriend’s father.

Dodgers plan to tab Clayton Kershaw for Game 1 of World Series

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MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports that the Dodgers plan to tab ace Clayton Kershaw for Game 1 of the World Series. Nothing is set in stone yet ahead of Tuesday’s Game 1 of the World Series. In the event Kershaw can’t start Game 1, Rich Hill would start. Otherwise, Hill would start Game 4.

Kershaw, started Game 1 and Game 5 of the NLCS against the Brewers, then closed out Game 7 with a flawless inning. He was hit around to the tune of five runs (four earned) over three-plus innings in Game 1, but rebounded for seven innings of one-run ball in Game 5. He struck out two en route to sending the Dodgers to the World Series in the ninth inning of Game 7.

Kershaw also tossed eight shutout innings against the Braves in Game 2 of the NLDS. Overall, he has a 2.37 ERA in 19 innings this postseason. There was no doubt who would be the Dodgers’ first choice to start Game 1, but it’s a relatively recent situation where the ace of a team also closed out the final game of the previous series.

Hill has put up a 2.61 ERA in 10 1/3 innings this postseason. While he doesn’t have Kershaw’s pedigree, the Dodgers would be confident having him lead off the series. Hill was excellent down the stretch last year, helping the Dodgers reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Astros.

The Red Sox plan to start Chris Sale in Game 1 now that he’s recovered from a brief stint in the hospital due to a stomach ailment. The lefty has a 3.48 in 10 1/3 innings in the playoffs this year. He’s among a handful of candidates for the AL Cy Young award after posting a 2.11 ERA in the regular season, but his lack of innings (158) may hurt him.