Jacque Jones will be looking for a job next week

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After attending my first winter meetings three years ago I concluded that there seemed to be an inverse relationship between how important a person is and how well they dress for the event.
For instance, Peter Gammons looked perfectly at home holding court in the hotel lobby while wearing an old t-shirt, gym shorts, and a pair of running shoes, whereas the venue was littered with college-aged guys who put on suits, slicked back their hair, and walked around clutching resumes in search of an MLB job.
I bring all this up because MLB.com’s Thomas Harding reports that Jacque Jones will be attending next week’s winter meetings in Indianapolis in search of a team willing to give him a comeback chance and … well, my suggestion is that he buy a new suit and maybe some new shoes too. Harding writes that “Jones believes he can still play,” but at this point he’s likely alone.
He’ll be 35 years old soon, was last seen hitting .147 in 2008, and spent last season with the independent league Newark Bears after getting released by the Reds in spring training. At his best Jones was a good defensive outfielder who was helpless against left-handed pitching and posted an OPS in the .750-.800 range with poor on-base skills and solid slugging. However, at 35 years old and with his last decent season in 2006 he’ll be lucky to secure a minor-league contract with an invite to spring training.

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.