Damon to the press: "Tell the Yankees I want to sign!"

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Johnny Damon, speaking to the press at a light switch-flipping event at the Empire State Building yesterday:

“I know what’s here in New York – you have the new Stadium, you have
the great coaches, you have the great players. You guys
just have to tell Cash to get things going with me. I’m up for it.”

I don’t mean to beat this theme to death, and to be sure, Damon was likely just joking around with the press a bit yesterday, but it makes absolutely no sense to me that Damon is sticking with Scott Boras this winter.

Damon wants to sign now. Boras likes to wait as long as possible. Damon obviously wants to sign with a certain team. Boras likes to play the field. Damon is a leftfielder. Boras’ top free agent this winter is a better leftfielder who would clearly like to have the Yankees bidding on him, either in earnest, or to simply jack his price up to other teams.

There may be dynamics in the Boras-Damon we know nothing about. Loyalty. A real game plan that is totally at odds with Damon’s current statements.  But as things presently stand,  there is nothing to suggest that Damon’s interests are best served by the usual Scott Boras
approach.

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.