UPDATE: Blalock picking between Marlins, Rays

Leave a comment

UPDATE: Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times confirms that the Rays have interest in Blalock on a minor league deal.
4:44pm: Two weeks ago Matthew named Tampa Bay and Florida as the best remaining fits for Hank Blalock, and sure enough now SI.com’s Jon Heyman reports that the 29-year-old free agent is indeed deciding between the Rays and Marlins.
In their quest for another left-handed hitter the Rays previously missed out on Russell Branyan and would likely use Blalock to split time at designated hitter with Pat Burrell while also providing some depth behind Carlos Pena at first base and Evan Longoria at third base. For the Marlins he’d be a potential alternative to prospects Logan Morrison and Gaby Sanchez at first base.
At this point Blalock is probably choosing between low-money deals or perhaps even minor-league offers, so he might as well take the best opportunity for significant playing time and that’s likely Tampa Bay unless Florida is willing to hold Morrison back at Triple-A for most of the 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)
Jason O. Watson/Getty Images
1 Comment

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

31 Comments

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.