Orioles continue to show heavy interest in Mark Reynolds

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Desperate to add a power bat to their light-hitting lineups, the Orioles, Padres and Blue Jays have expressed interest this offseason in trading for Diamondbacks slugger Mark Reynolds.

Reynolds tallied 32 home runs in 2010 and a career-high 44 in 2009, but he’s the only player in major league history to amass 200 strikeouts in a season and he’s done that now for three straight years.  According to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com, that’s not deterring the Orioles, who are now heavily intrigued at the possibility of landing the third baseman while the Jays and Pads have backed off.

Reynolds has poor range at third base and is owed around $23.5 million through the 2013 season.  His strikeout rates won’t get any better with a move to the American League East and the O’s will almost certainly have to fork over a respectable prospect to acquire him.

Yes, it’s possible that the 27-year-old might improve his plate discipline and flourish in the cozy confines of Camden Yards, but Baltimore should know better than to make a desperation trade.  If the Orioles are going to catch up to the Yankees, Red Sox and Rays — heck, even the Blue Jays — they must do it through the draft and through the cultivation of what looks to be a healthy farm system.  Allowing Arizona to pluck a name or two from that system would seem to be a step in the wrong direction.

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.