Mets considering 20-year-old Mejia for bullpen

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Showing yet again that they’ve never met a prospect they won’t rush, the Mets have reportedly decided to keep Jenrry Mejia in big-league camp through the end of spring training to evaluate him as an Opening Day bullpen option.
Mejia is one of the game’s best pitching prospects and has looked great so far this spring, but he’s just 20 years old and his only action above Single-A was going 0-5 with a 4.47 ERA in 10 starts at Double-A last season. Of course, most organizations would never have pushed him to Double-A as a teenager to begin with, so the Mets got the overly aggressive ball rolling last season and now it’s just building up speed.
Adam Rubin of the New York Daily News notes that if Mejia doesn’t claim an Opening Day bullpen spot “he’s not going to be stretched out enough to immediately contribute in the [Double-A] Binghamton rotation” because “Jerry Manuel is determined to begin using Mejia in short and frequent relief spurts, to gauge how he reacts to pitching in that capacity.”
So instead of letting him develop normally and gradually as a starting pitcher, like just about any other team would with a young prospect of Mejia’s caliber, the Mets first rocketed him through the minors and are now considering limiting him to brief outings because they need short-term relief help. Mets fans sometimes accuse Hardball Talk of picking on them too much, but I’m starting to think maybe it’s actually not enough.

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.