Astros sign Pedro Feliz to one-year deal

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Enrique Rojas of ESPN reports that the Astros have agreed to a one-year, $4 million contract with third baseman Pedro Feliz. Feliz became a free agent last month when the Phillies declined his $5 million option for 2010, but he managed to find another starting job for just $1 million less. Of course, he had to go from the back-to-back National League champs to the 74-win Astros to make that happen.
Feliz was once an excellent defensive third baseman with enough power to make up for low batting averages and horrible on-base percentages, but at 35 years old his glove is now merely very good and he hit a measly .266/.308/.386 with just 12 homers in 158 games for the Phillies in 2009. That works out to a .694 OPS, ranking 143rd among the 155 players who qualified for the batting title, and his OPS in the previous four seasons were .705, .708, .709, and .717.
For a contending team with a couple holes that need to be filled cheaply Feliz’s good glove, weak bat combo might still bring a little value to the table, but for a mediocre team like the Astros with all kinds of issues to address he makes little sense. Of course, neither did handing $15 million to Brandon Lyon, so it’s possible “make little sense” is actually general manager Ed Wade’s offseason goal. If you can’t be ’em, confuse ’em.

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.