Adam LaRoche calls the Diamondbacks his "first choice"

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adam laroche.jpgDuring an introductory conference call on Friday, new first baseman Adam LaRoche called the Diamondbacks his “first choice.”

‘This all came together obviously really fast,” LaRoche said. “There
were some other options out there and to be honest with you, this was
at the top of the list if we could work it out. From a contract
standpoint, this was my first choice.”

Or, um, the only reasonable offer left on the table? LaRoche pretty
much says as much, stating that that “offers started dwindling fast”
and that he heard of Arizona’s interest early in the offseason, but
didn’t hear much about them again until the past week.

LaRoche signed a one-year, $4.5 million contract with a $7.5 million
mutual option for 2011. The option includes a $1.5 million buyout, so
he is guaranteed $6 million. LaRoche earned $7.05 million last season.

It’s a pretty small sample size, but the 30-year-old hasn’t had much
luck at Chase Field during his career, batting .238 with two home runs
and eight RBI in 42 at-bats. Still, he should provide a tremendous
offensive boost to a team that combined to hit just .229/.321/.398 with
19 home runs, 88 RBI and a league-worst .718 OPS out of the first base
position last season.

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.