Steroids to one day be considered quaint

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You think the Hall of Fame debates about Mark McGwire are thorny? Wait until my son strikes out 500 dudes in 2030 with the help of a bionic elbow:

As advances make robots act more like us, titanium parts and
artificial aids can give humans bionic capabilities. “I think this will
be the decade when we cross over from people who consider having
implants to tackle disabilities to people who consider surgery for
their healthy bodies to improve performance,” says Mr Saffo.

Sports
people are already exploring the possibilities – for example, baseball
pitchers have been seeking surgery to replace a tendon in their
throwing arm in a procedure that can make them pitch faster.

Bill James, as he usually is, was right when he wrote this past summer that, in the future, everybody is going to be using steroids or their pharmaceutical — or in this case mechanical — descendants.  Rather than freak out about this, we’ll be better served to actually think about it a bit.

The key issues here are (a) risks and (b) disclosure. Once the risks of any performance-enhancing measure are limited or eliminated, and once everyone knows what everyone else is doing, we’re going to be in a totally different world, PED-wise.

And then, just like we’ve done with every other technological advancement,  we’re going to have to figure out, as a society, how to think about it all in the grand scheme of things.

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.