Link-O-Rama: Pudge's uphill climb to 3,000 hits

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* Ivan Rodriguez is “on a mission” to get 3,000 hits,
but the odds are against him. He’s hitting a career-low .249 and still
needs 342 hits, so given his production over the past three seasons
Rodriguez likely needs to play in at least another 350-375 games even
if he avoids any further decline.

In other words, he’ll likely have to keep playing through the age of
40 while somehow convincing teams to give him starting jobs for 2010,
2011, and 2012. All of which is why there are zero catchers in the
3,000-hit club and Rodriguez is already the position’s all-time leader with “only” 2,658.

* Ozzie Guillen explained yesterday
that, unlike Lou Piniella, he’s never tried marijuana. “I never did
because I’m so crazy [that if] I might do that, I might be in jail
already,” Guillen said. “A lot of people think I’m on the stuff.”

* Bronson Arroyo is considering offseason wrist surgery
in order “to resume his recreational passion of playing the guitar.”
Meanwhile, there’s speculation that Eddie Van Halen may go under the
knife to improve his curveball.

* With impending free agent Adrian Beltre set to undergo shoulder
surgery that could knock him out for the season, Dave Cameron of U.S.S.
Mariner looks back at his ultimately underappreciated time in Seattle.

* Individual win-loss records are often so misleading that they become
meaningless, but Shairon Martis is 5-3 this season while the rest of
the Nationals are 17-48. So naturally he was dumped from the rotation and sent back to the minors yesterday.

* When on-field celebrations go wrong.

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)
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.