Tim McClelland thought he had the right calls "in his heart"

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Tim McClelland all but admits to the need for instant replay at the press conference after last night’s game:

As far as the two calls that I had at third base. The first one with Swisher leaving too soon. In my heart I thought he left too soon.  On the play with Cano and Posada, I thought Cano was on the base. I was waiting for two players to be on the base, and when there was never the situation where both of them were on the base at the same time. When he tagged Cano, I thought Cano was on the base, and when Jorge touched the base and continued and tagged Posada out, I thought Posada was out.

After looking at replays, I’m not sure I believe the replay of the first one. I said in my heart I thought he left too soon. But the replay showed that he didn’t. We go in and watch replays regularly after every game, even during the regular season. That’s part of our procedures.

Then the second one it showed that Cano was off the bag when he was tagged. I did not see that for whatever reason. So obviously there were two missed calls. Obviously, or not obviously, but there were two missed calls.

And I’m just out there trying to do my job and do it the best I can. And unfortunately there was by instant replay, there were two missed calls.

Good for McClelland for admitting his mistakes.  And for, however unwittingly, making the best case for the expansion of instant replay yet.  Umpires can’t be making calls based on what’s “in their heart.”  In each of these cases, the replay got it right, and even an umpire admits it.

Based on what we’ve seen this offseason, baseball can not deny the need to do something with respect to replay this winter.

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.