Jackson likely to struggle if asked to immediately replace Granderson

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Austin Jackson is arguably the centerpiece of the package heading to the Tigers from the three-team trade with the Yankees and Diamondbacks, and Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that Detroit plans to have him replace Curtis Granderson as the Opening Day center fielder.
Teams feeling the need to show immediate results from a big, largely unpopular trade is certainly nothing new. For example, after trading Johan Santana to the Mets two winters ago the Twins turned to 22-year-old Carlos Gomez as their Opening Day center fielder. He predictably struggled, fell out of favor midway through his second season in Minnesota, and was traded to the Brewers last month with a lowly .638 OPS through 1,102 plate appearances in the big leagues.
For all his physical tools and hype there was simply little in Gomez’s track record to suggest that he was ready to thrive in the majors. Jackson is a different player with different strengths and weaknesses, but seems similarly unlikely to experience a ton of success if asked to play every day in Detroit right now. Jackson has hit for strong batting averages and swiped lots of bases in the minors, but posting a .759 OPS with a 123/40 K/BB ratio at Triple-A doesn’t exact translate to knocking around big-league pitching at 22.

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.