Diamondbacks exercise Brandon Webb's $8.5 million option

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Shoulder problems limited Brandon Webb to just one start this season and he underwent surgery in August, leading to speculation that the Diamondbacks weren’t planning to exercise his $8.5 million option for 2010.
However, when Webb made it very clear that he wasn’t interested in working out a new deal the Diamondbacks were faced with a tough decision. They either had to take an $8.5 million risk on Webb being somewhat healthy next season or let him hit the open market, where he seemed highly unlikely to re-sign with Arizona.
This afternoon Arizona made what was probably the right call, picking up Webb’s option and keeping their longtime ace around for at least another year. Webb has not been cleared to resume throwing yet after going under the knife, but barring setbacks he’s expected to be ready for spring training and obviously when healthy he’s worth far more than $8.5 million.
Certainly he’s a huge risk and given his uncertain status the Diamondbacks may have just flushed $8.5 million down the toilet, but if they wanted any chance of keeping Webb in 2010 and beyond picking up his option was … well, their only real option.

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.