Red Sox

Source: Cubs-Red Sox deal for Matsuzaka not imminent

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Source: Cubs-Red Sox deal for Matsuzaka not imminent

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com

The Red Sox and Chicago Cubs may have discussed the names of Daisuke Matsuzaka and Cub outfielder Kosuke Fukudome, but pursuing a deal involving the two Japanese players does not seem like a priority for either team right now.

A Cubs source said Wednesday that in recently completed organizational meetings, Matsuzaka's name did not surface. Nor was Matsuzaka mentioned when Cubs officials discussed possible bad contracts they might be willing to assume under the right circumstances. Matsuzaka, who had an injury-plagued, largely uneven season (9-6, 4.69 in 25 starts), has two years and approximately 19 million on his landmark six-year deal with the Red Sox following an expensive posting process in 2006.

Matsuzaka's deal includes a rarely granted perk among Red Sox contracts: A full no-trade clause, meaning he has the right to negate any deal the Sox propose.

This is not the first time Fukudome's name has been linked to the Red Sox. Last June after injuries struck outfielders Jacoby Ellsbury and Mike Cameron, the Cubs called and offered Fukudome, whom they were shopping to multiple teams. Fukudome is due 13.5 million in 2011, the final year of his deal with the Cubs.

Fukodome, who'll turn 34 at the end of April 2011, batted .263 in 130 games last year with 13 homers and 44 RBI. He had a .371 on-base percentage for a .439 slugging percentage, giving him an .809 OPS.

The Sox are universally expected to bid for both top free-agent outfielders on the market, Carl Crawford and Jayson Werth. It's possible that Fukudome might interest them as a fallback proposition. He could conceivably be paired with Cameron in a left-field platoon should Werth and Crawford sign elsewhere, though that would be an expensive proposition for the Sox. If such a deal were to be made without the Cubs agreeing to take back some of Fukudome's salary, the platoon of Fukudome and Cameron would cost the Red Sox 21 million.

It's unclear how willing -- the pitcher's no-trade clause notwithstanding -- the Sox are in dealing Matsuzaka. The rotation is otherwise set with Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Josh Beckett and John Lackey, and they could plug Felix Dubront into the fifth spot to give them a second left-hander, to say nothing of the considerable savings in salary.

It has been speculated that if Matsuzaka were to waive his no-trade, it would likely be to a West Coast team in a market with a signifcant Japanese population. A West Coast team would also bring Matsuzaka 3,000 miles closer to his native country, making return flights home at least somewhat more convenient.

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

Astros beat Yankees in Game 7 to advance to World Series, 4-0

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Astros beat Yankees in Game 7 to advance to World Series, 4-0

HOUSTON - Charlie Morton and Lance McCullers combined on a three-hitter, Jose Altuve and Evan Gattis homered and the Houston Astros reached the World Series, blanking the New York Yankees 4-0 Saturday night in Game 7 of the AL Championship Series.

Just four years removed from their third straight 100-loss season in 2013, the Astros shut down the Yankees for two straight games after dropping three in a row in the Bronx.

Next up for the Astros: Game 1 of the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday night. Houston aces Dallas Keuchel and ALCS MVP Justin Verlander will have plenty of rest, too, before the matchup begins at Dodger Stadium.

Houston has never won even a single World Series game. The only previous time the Astros made it this far, they were a National League team when they were swept by the Chicago White Sox in 2005.

Now, manager A.J. Hinch's club has a chance to win that elusive first title, while trying to boost a region still recovering from Hurricane Harvey.

Houston improved to 6-0 at Minute Maid Park in these playoffs and became the fifth team in major league history to win a seven-game postseason series by winning all four of its home games.

Morton bounced back from a loss in Game 3 to allow two hits over five scoreless innings. Starter-turned-postseason reliever McCullers limited the Yankees to just one hit while fanning six over the next four.

Combined, they throttled the Yankees one last time in Houston. Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and their New York teammates totaled just three runs in the four road games.

CC Sabathia entered the game 10-0 with a 1.69 ERA in 13 starts this season after a Yankees loss. But he struggled with command and was gone with one out in the fourth inning.

Houston was up 2-0 in fifth when former Yankees star Brian McCann came through for the second straight game by hitting a two-run double after snapping an 0-for-20 skid with an ground-rule RBI double to give Houston its first run on Friday night.

The Yankees, trying to reach the World Series for the first time since 2009, lost an elimination game for the first time this season after winning their first four in these playoffs. New York struggled on the road this postseason, with this loss dropping the team to 1-6.

Red Sox reportedly make offer to Cora

Red Sox reportedly make offer to Cora

UPDATE: The deal is for three years, per Ken Rosenthal.

BOSTON — We’re just waiting on an announcement now.

A pair of national reports on Saturday afternoon, one from FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal... 

...And another from MLB Network and FanRagSports.com's Jon Heyman...

have firmed up Alex Cora’s expected hiring as Red Sox manager. Both reported that Cora, the Astros bench coach, is expected to take the job once Houston's season ends, which could come as soon as Saturday night after Game 7 of the American League Championship Series. 

Heyman reported a contract offer has already been made to Cora. 

A baseball source said this week that there was “not a doubt” Cora, the Astros bench coach, would wind up with the Red Sox gig. It’s unclear when exactly the offer was made to him, but one had not been made as of midday Wednesday, the source said. 

Cora, 41, a former Red Sox infielder (2005-08) who's also worked in the media and is the most sought-after managerial candidate at the moment, appeared the front-runner since the outset of what proved a small search for the Red Sox.

Earlier, Boston Globe reported that the Washington Nationals were interested in Cora after they fired Dusty Baker on Friday.