Carl Pavano to accept Twins' arbitration offer

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Arbitration decisions don’t have to be made until midnight, but Carl Pavano has reportedly decided to accept the Twins’ offer after failing to find a multi-year deal on the open market.
It was a win-win situation for the Twins, who would have received a draft pick between the first and second rounds if the Type B free agent signed elsewhere and will now get to retain Pavano without having to make a commitment beyond 2010.
Pavano went 14-9 with a 4.62 ERA following a rough April, including 5-4 with a 4.62 ERA in a dozen starts for the Twins, and his secondary numbers–which include a 147/39 K/BB ratio in 199 innings overall–were also encouraging. He’s far from a top-of-the-rotation option and Pavano’s lengthy injury history no doubt scared teams off, but the one-year commitment lessens the Twins’ risk and he should be a solid No. 3 starter for a team that was looking for rotation stability.
Pavano earned about $4.5 million in 2009 via an incentive-laden one-year contract with the Indians and figures to get a raise to at least $6 million in arbitration, although it’s possible that the two sides could work out their own terms before the hearing. Minnesota’s rotation now includes Pavano, Scott Baker, Kevin Slowey, and Nick Blackburn as the front four, with Francisco Liriano, Glen Perkins, Brian Duensing, Jeff Manship, and Anthony Swarzak competing for the final spot if they aren’t traded.

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.