Rumor: the Cubs considering a Fukudome for Dice-K trade

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This one from Phil Rogers is prefaced with the idea that the Cubs are merely “kicking it around,” do don’t get your hopes up, Fukudome-hating Cubs fans or Matsuzaka-hating Red Sox fans.  There’s no suggestion that the Red Sox have been contacted about it and, of course, both of these guys have no-trade clauses, so they’d have to be brought into the loop too.  I’d place the odds of such a deal going down somewhere between “Brandon Wood wins a batting title” and “Pablo Sandoval eats a vegetable.”

But it’s fun to consider. Total challenge trade, no? Both guys are capable of playing well for stretches, both are capable of really stinkin’ up the joint. Both are seen by the fan base as massive disappointments, especially in light of their salaries.  The Japanese angle is gravy of course. If you’ve ever seen the way the Japanese baseball press covers these guys you can just imagine the media frenzy such a trade would create.

Rogers says that the kicking-around of it all involves “a package of players.”  Who knows how it would all turn out — not that it will ever turn out — but if it did go down, who wins?  I suspect the Cubs by virtue of the fact that Matsuzaka would likely improve against NL Central opponents, but we can’t be sure.

I don’t care, though.  This is easily the most fun rumor we’ve had since the offseason began.

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.