Link-O-Rama: Wakefield slated for back surgery

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* Tim Wakefield had been hoping to join the Red Sox’s playoff roster if they advanced past the ALDS, but now that Boston’s season is over the 43-year-old knuckleballer will undergo surgery this week to repair a herniated disk in his back.
Wakefield struggled down the stretch after returning from the injury, but went 11-3 with a 4.31 ERA in the first half while making the All-Star team and hopes to pitch in 2010.
* After struggling in Game 2 before leaving the team to be present for the birth of his first child, Cole Hamels is ready to make the Game 5 start if the Phillies-Rockies series goes that far.
* Scouting director Dana Brown has left the Nationals to become a special assistant to new Blue Jays general manager Alexander Anthopoulos, so Washington is now interviewing longtime Atlanta scouting director Roy Clark as his replacement.
* Phillies reliever Scott Eyre figures to be unavailable for the rest of the NLDS after leaving Game 3 with a sprained ankle.

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.

Royals sign Danny Duffy to a five-year, $65 million contract extension

KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 02:  Starting pitcher Danny Duffy #41 of the Kansas City Royals pitches during the game against the Detroit Tigers at Kauffman Stadium on September 2, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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The Kansas City Royals have signed starter Danny Duffy to a five-year, $65 million contract extension.

Duffy was arbitration eligible this offseason and would’ve been a free agent next winter if he hadn’t signed the deal. Given his stuff he might’ve made a mint as a free agent, but he’s also been inconsistent at times and any pitcher is an injury away from losing a payday, making this a nice, lucrative bet for the lefty.

Duffy, 28, posted a 3.51 ERA and a 188/42 K/BB ratio across 179.2 innings in 2016.