If you would have told me before the season that the Yankees would consider bringing Johnny Damon back after his contract expires this year, I would have told you that you were crazy, but according to Tyler Kepner, that is a distinct possibility:
Before the season, there was a sense that the Yankees would allow Damon to move on and turn over his left-field spot to a prospect like Austin Jackson or a younger free agent like Matt Holliday. But Yankees officials seem to understand Damon’s value on the field and in the clubhouse, and now they would like him to return. When the Yankees want to keep a player and the player wants to stay, that is usually what happens.
Wanting him back has an awful lot to do with his return to top form this season (.281/.361/.517). So much of that production, however, is a function of new Yankee Stadium. Fifteen of his 22 homers have come at home, and his OPS is nearly 200 points lower on the road.
This doesn’t mean that his bounceback has been a mirage or anything — make no mistake: he’s been very useful. But it does suggest that a younger, better guy in left field — oh, like a Matt Holliday — would post at least similar gains over his career averages if given the chance. What’s more, a guy like that wouldn’t need as much time at DH as Damon suggests he needs in the article. And with an aging Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada around, it strikes me that DH time will be at a premium in Yankee land over the next couple of years.
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.
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.