Mariners set to steal Lee in Halladay deal

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ESPN’s Jayson Stark’s latest has some new twists in the Roy Halladay deal, and they seem to clearly favor the Mariners.
At 6:00 pm, the deal looked like this, according to Stark:
Phillies acquire Roy Halladay, Mariners prospect, Mariners prospect
Mariners acquire Cliff Lee
Blue Jays acquire Phillippe Aumont, Travis d’Arnaud, Phillies prospect (likely OF Michael Taylor)
However, the current deal has no one going from Seattle to Toronto.
Instead, the Mariners are set to acquire Lee from the Phillies for Aumont, a 20-year-old right-handed reliever, and 21-year-old outfielder Tyson Gillies. The Philies will simultaneously acquire Halladay from the Jays for three of their own youngsters: RHP Kyle Drabek, Taylor and D’Arnaud.
Stark said 2009 rookie J.A. Happ was a possibility to be included in Drabek’s place, but Drabek is the much more popular name elsewhere.
So, if this is the deal, then it’d be a stellar move for Seattle. Aumont could well turn into a closer and Gillies is pretty interesting, but to get one of the game’s top five pitchers for those two would be a flat-out steal and it’s incredible that the Phillies couldn’t do better elsewhere.
Things also look a better for the Blue Jays. Drabek isn’t without risk, but he’s one of the game’s top-10 pitching prospects. With his legitimate No. 1 or No. 2 starter potential, he’s a big upgrade from Aumont.
As for the Phillies, well, the price for Halladay is certainly fair, but they’re not getting nearly enough in return for Lee. That’s quite a bit of talent they’re bleeding for what should be a very modest upgrade in 2010. They definitely have their eyes on 2011 here, as Halladay’s extension will be quite a bit more reasonable than what Lee was requesting. Still, I don’t think it was worth sacrificing Drabek’s potential to get the swap done. There should have been a more reasonable deal available if they had let the league know that Lee was up for grabs.

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.