Orlando Cabrera likely to sign with Reds, Rockies or Nationals

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MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon reports that Orlando Cabrera has narrowed his list of suitors down to the Reds, Nationals, and Rockies.
Cabrera hasn’t started at a position other than shortstop since he was a 23-year-old rookie in 1998, so if remaining there is a priority Cincinnati could be the pick. Troy Tulowitzki’s presence guarantees that he’d be purely a second baseman in Colorado and it’s unclear where Washington would play Cabrera, as the Nationals have a young shortstop in Ian Desmond and an old shortstop in Cristian Guzman.
Cabrera was sent from Oakland to Minnesota at the trading deadline and got tons of credit for the Twins’ dramatic turnaround after batting .411 with 21 runs and 16 RBIs over the final 16 games. However, he also hit a putrid .237/.268/.361 in his first 43 games with the Twins and batted .289/.313/.430 overall in Minnesota, which is very close to his modest .275/.322/.398 career line.
He’s likely to decline offensively at age 35 and Ultimate Zone Rating already shows him as losing several steps defensively, rating 15 runs below average at shortstop in 2009. He’s rated well defensively in the past, but Cabrera looked bad enough following the trade that Ron Gardenhire even admitted his range was lacking. In other words, the two teams that end up missing out on Cabrera probably shouldn’t feel too bad.

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.