Vicente Padilla is yours if you really want him

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Vicente Padilla was placed on waivers by the Rangers on Wednesday, but based on what his teammates are saying about him, I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for anyone else to go to go out of their way to claim him:

Vinny is considered too much of a loner to be considered a team
cancer, but as one guy told me, “He just doesn’t care. He could care
less. And he’s going to get somebody hurt. Somebody who does care about
the team. Vinny throws at hitters. Always has. That’s not necessarily
bad, but he’s stupid at times with how he does it, such as drilling
Mark Teixeira of the Yankees twice on Tuesday night. Padilla claims it
wasn’t intentional. Nobody believed him, starting with Tex, but also
including those in his own clubhouse.

“What if Nellie (Nelson Cruz) had been hit in the head and we lose
him?” asked a member of the Rangers, referring to the retaliatory pitch
on Tuesday which was in the vicinity of Cruz’s noggin. “Or when Tex
goes that hard into second, trying to kill the kid (prized young
shortstop Elvis Andrus)? That was retaliatory for getting drilled (by
Padilla). What if Elvis had been hurt over nothing?”

The Rangers’ source also criticizes Padilla’s approach to pitching,
saying that he just wings out there, has no plan, and more or less
ignores pitching coach Mike Maddux.

I think the biggest problem with Padilla could be conditioning. I
hadn’t seen him pitch for a year or two before seeing the highlights of
the Yankees-Rangers game the other night, and the guy just looks fat.
Oh, and he also has a history of problems with alcohol. That second link goes to an article in Spanish which — according to this baseball expert and Spanish speaker
— reports that Padilla was driving drunk in Nicaragua three years ago
with a friend in the passenger’s seat, got in an accident, and caused
his friend’s death.

To sum up: Vicente Padilla is (a) a reckless head hunter who; (b)
can’t be coached; (c) is out of shape; (d) has a history of alcohol
issues; and (e) is still owed $8 million or so this season.

I can just hear the teams lining up to claim him off waivers now.

(link via BTF)

Report: Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on Sonny Gray

OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 06: Sonny Gray #54 of the Oakland Athletics pitches against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning at the Oakland Coliseum on August 6, 2016 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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The Astros remain in contact with the Athletics on starting pitcher Sonny Gray, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. The Astros have added Charlie Morton this offseason, but the club has been trying to add a big-name starting pitcher to put at the top of the rotation behind Dallas Keuchel.

Gray, 27, was limited to 22 starts in the 2016 season due to a forearm issue. His stats left a lot to be desired, as he finished with a 5-11 record, a 5.69 ERA, and a 94/42 K/BB ratio over 117 innings. Considering how Gray pitched in the previous three years, he’s a good bet to bounce back.

Gray is under team control through 2019, which is a big draw for the Astros. Needless to say, the Athletics would want a haul in terms of prospects. Gray will earn $3.575 million in 2017, having avoided arbitration in his first year of eligibility.

President Obama Welcomes the Cubs to the White House

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As we noted last week, The Chicago Cubs took the unusual step of not waiting until the summer after winning the World Series to make their customary White House visit to meet the president. They did it today, seeing President Obama a few short days before he leaves office.

Despite the fact that Obama is a White Sox fan, he met the Cubs with diplomacy and grace. It’s almost as if he’s been in that business for the past eight years. In return, he was given some gifts by the Cubs: Theo Epstein presented Obama with a No. 44 Cubs jersey, a tile from the center field scoreboard at Wrigley Field, and a lifetime pass to Wrigley as well.

Obama is staying in D.C. after he leaves office this week, hanging around so his daughter can finish high school in the same place she started. Even so, he’s likely going to be back to Chicago a good bit over the rest of his life, so he’ll likely be able to put the free pass to work. Assuming it comes with, like, six companion passes for his Secret Service detail.