The Brewers talking to Prince Fielder already

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UPDATE: Tom Haudricort confirms that the Brewers met with Boras yesterday to talk about a Fielder extension. No offer was made, but the fact that they’re even talking now is unusual for a high-profile Boras client.

5:15 P.M.: Brewers’ beat writer Adam McCalvy noted some strange behavior by the Milwaukee brass (Milwaukee brass?) today:

Brewers general manager Doug Melvin and assistant GM Gord Ash
returned to camp on Thursday after an absence all day Wednesday. Asked
specifically whether it had anything to do with Fielder, Melvin said
only “we took a little trip.” Asked where that trip took him, Melvin said again: “We took a little trip.”

Ash wouldn’t dish, either, joking to a reporter that, “we don’t have to tell you guys everything.”

McCalvy speculates that they were off meeting Scott Boras at some undisclosed location to discuss Prince Fielder’s contract. I suppose that’s entirely possible. It’s also entirely possible that they all just “took a little trip” to the ladies room to powder their noses.

At least that’s the rumor I’m going to start spreading unless someone in the know gives me the dirt on what would be an unprecedentedly early contract negotiation for a Scott Boras client.

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.