Remember the Jays signing Ramon Castro? Well, they kinda didn't

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I’m not going to say that the hot stove season moves a bit too fast for its own good these days, but it was probably only a matter of time before this happened:

It turns out that the power-hitting back-up catcher who everyone reported that the Blue Jays had signed earlier this month is still a free agent.  The Jays never did sign him, despite getting involved in negotiations with him.  I’m not sure how or why it fell through, or if it even got close enough to reach the point where one can even accurately say that it ‘fell through’, but it didn’t happen.

Jorge Arangue reported that Castro signed (or that his signing was imminent). MLB.com had it too. MLB Trade Rumors picked it up. We picked it up. So did a bunch of other people. As I mentioned last week, we’ve gotten to the point where most of us don’t wait around for the official announcement before running with stuff. I’m actually surprised other, low-wattage deals haven’t fallen through, only to escape the notice of the tweeting masses. It’s probably something all of us in the rumor-mongering business should pay a bit closer attention to going forward.

But you know what would be cool? If Castro just showed up at Jays camp like Willie Mays Hayes and acted like he was on the team anyway. Wouldn’t it be awkward if no one said anything until after he beat out John Buck?

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.