The Dodgers — or the Angels — may be the favorites to land Hiroki Kuroda

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Hiroki Kuroda is likely to sign a one-year deal. Maybe back with the Yankees. Possibly up in Boston.  But Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles says that the smart money may be on L.A. Why?  Family:

Previously, teams have been under the impression that Kuroda would either re-sign with the New York Yankees or return to his native Japan to finish his career. But Kuroda has told friends that his first preference is to pitch in Southern California, where his two daughters are attending elementary school.

These “player x wants to be in location y because of non-baseball reason z” reports don’t have a great track record of bearing out.  If they did, CC Sabathia would be pitching in California right now.  But it’s a data point worth thinking about.

Justin Masterson is retired and doing missionary work

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Fancred’s Jon Heyman reports that pitcher Justin Masterson is retired from baseball and currently doing missionary work, according to his agent Randy Rowley.

Masterson, 33, hadn’t pitched in the majors since 2015, though he had been trying to find work going into the past season but never latched on with a team. He spent 2016 in the Pirates’ minor league system and 2017 at the Dodgers’ Triple-A affiliate.

Masterson spent parts of eight seasons in the majors with the Red Sox, Indians, and Cardinals. Across 258 appearances, 184 of which were starts, the right-hander compiled a 4.31 ERA with 1,004 strikeouts and 498 walks in 1,201 innings of work.