Steve Phillips to speak on Monday

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Thumbnail image for steve phillips.jpgIf you’re like me, the airwaves just haven’t been the same since Steve Phillips got fired.  But never fear! My corporate parent has seen to it that you’ll get your fix on Monday:

Steve Phillips, fired late last October from ESPN over an embarrassing extramarital affair with a young staffer at the network, will go public with his story for the first time Monday during a “Today” show interview with Matt Lauer.

Sources said the Phillips interview is expected to air during the early portion of the show.

I’m going to go out and a limb here and guess that the grovelling-to-informing ratio is going to be on the high side. Because really, there isn’t much for Phillips to tell here. He got busted for an inappropriate workplace relationship. Again. While the behavior of the young lady in question was rather nuts, it’s a pretty simple story from Phillips’ perspective.

So the grovelling will be really important here. Why? Employment.  No, not with ESPN or in baseball or anything like that. Because really, his behavior has made him more or less unemployable either as a media personality or as someone in a position of authority in a Major League Baseball office. And that’s just because of the affair-with-an-underling stuff.  If you bring his awfulness as a media personality and fecklessness as a GM into the equation, the dude is positively radioactive.

However, if he can muster some real tears for Lauer on Monday he may yet be able to parlay a book deal or a series of paid speaking engagements out of this.  And if that happens, we all win, don’t we?

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.