Ken Rosenthal (and others) have reported this morning that Adrian Beltre’s 2011 option could double from $5 million to $10 million based on incentives. What incentives? Rosenthal just tweeted that he gets the extra $5 million if he makes 640 plate appearances.
For what it’s worth, Beltre has made 640 plate appearances thrice in his career: 2004-2006, which were his age 25-27 seasons. He fell one plate appearance short in 2007. He had 612 and 477 in the past two years.
Is the incentive attainable? Absolutely, though if the Red Sox can’t unload Mike Lowell for some reason, one wonders if they’ll keep him on the roster somehow, taking plate appearances away from Beltre. That’s probably unlikely.
Whether it’s more unlikely than a 31 year-old player coming off an injury returning to the health and durability he enjoyed in his prime is an open question.
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.
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.