The real problem with the Molina signing

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Grant at McCovey Chronicles has a hilarious — though painful for Giants’ fans — takedown of the Bengie Molina signing that’s definitely worth a read.  But it’s something that he says after the phony press conference that I think gets at the basic problem with the signing:

I’m actually fine with the idea that Posey should be eased into the
starting job; he’s young, and catching is a heckuva strain on the body.
If Posey was really worn down after the Hawaiian League, spring
training, the minors for a full season, sitting on the bench in the
majors, and the Arizona Fall League, maybe it’s not a bad idea to let
him ease into the job.

Driving the Giants’ desire to bring in Molina — or some other veteran catcher — was their belief, based on Buster Posey’s less-than-thrilling performance in the Arizona Fall League, that Posey wasn’t ready to start. But as Grant notes, that stretch came after a long year for the guy. He caught a ton of games once you figure in the winter league in which he played. He had to have been gassed by the time he got to Arizona.

I find it troubling that the Giants would put that much on their young catcher’s odometer in the first instance — let the kid rest his knees for cryin’ out loud — but I find it more troubling that, in making the decision that Posey isn’t ready for a starting job in the majors, they’re giving his performance at the end of that marathon greater weight than what he accomplished when he was fresher last summer.

Maybe it doesn’t matter if the Giants have no chance this year. In such an instance saving your catcher for the future may not be a bad thing at all.  But the Giants do have a chance. They have excellent pitching, the Dodgers are likely going to slide back, and the division could be San Francisco’s for the taking.

But they’re going to start Bengie Molina every day, and will likely have him hitting way higher in the lineup than he has any right to be. It’s that kind of thing that costs teams playoff spots.

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.