The Royals could have interest in Mark Ellis

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The Dodgers inked Cuban infielder Alexander Guerrero to a four-year, $28 million contract in October and intend to give him a shot at the starting second base job in the spring, which means that Mark Ellis will likely be playing elsewhere next season. Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star speculates that his next stop could be with the Royals.

Emilio Bonifacio came on strong after he was acquired from the Blue Jays late in the year, but the Royals apparently aren’t convinced that he’s the answer at second base. Ellis has declined offensively since his days with the Athletics, but he still does enough on defense to have value. The Dodgers declined a $5.75 million club option on the 36-year-old after he batted .270/.323/.351 with six home runs and 48 RBI over 126 games this past season.

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.