Nats moving Guzman to second base next year?

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Bill Ladson of MLB.com reports that the Nationals are considering moving shortstop Cristian Guzman to second base next season in an effort “to improve their middle-infield defense.”
Aside from a few random appearances at designated hitter, Guzman has played shortstop for every inning of his 10-year career, making 1,223 total starts there. His defense has never been great and at 31 years old the Nationals now view his glove as a clear weakness with one season and $8 million remaining on his contract.
According to Ladson, “they have been alarmed that Guzman is having problems going to his left on ground balls” and “interim manager Jim Riggleman believes a foot injury” is to blame. Ultimate Zone Rating pegs Guzman as 2.0 runs below average in 106 games this season after grading him 3.4 runs below average in 136 games last year, so numbers-wise there hasn’t been a big change.
Ladson speculates that the Nationals would leave Guzman alone if they’re able to sign a veteran second baseman like Orlando Hudson this offseason, but barring that will “try to find a defensive-oriented shortstop” or turn to prospect Ian Desmond. Desmond never showed much promise offensively prior to this season, but the 23-year-old former third-round pick has hit .328/.400/.477 with 21 steals in 96 games between Double-A and Triple-A this year.

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.