Lackey-to-Red Sox was a 'family decision'

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Krista Lackey-Francona.jpgJohn Lackey’s initial interest in signing with the Red Sox even caught general manager Theo Epstein off-guard, but the pairing begins to make a bit more sense now that we find out Lackey’s wife Krista went to Sanford High School in Maine and graduated from the University of New Hampshire:



“I don’t think they thought I’d be interested,” John Lackey said
Wednesday at the news conference announcing his signing. “But I always
was. I definitely had to have my agent really let them know I was
serious about this. The wife helped out a lot. My wife went to UNH.
Coming to Boston was a family decision.”




It all sounds great, but the $82.8 million the Red Sox forked over probably didn’t hurt, either. You know, it’s a good thing Lackey signed on the dotted line before someone puked on Krista’s fur coat in Kenmore Square. Welcome to the neighborhood! 



Something you may have missed during the rush up to Christmas, Lackey’s contract includes a conditional option for 2015 at the major league minimum
if the right-hander is forced to miss significant time due to an old
elbow injury. Lackey has missed starts over each of the past two
seasons with elbow issues.

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.