The case for the Mets signing Elijah Dukes

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As soon as Elijah Dukes was released today people starting snarking “just watch, the Mets will sign him.”  Howard Megdal of the New York Baseball Digest doesn’t consider that to be snark at all.  The upshot: Dukes is better than Gary Matthews, who the Mets will probably start, so at the very least he’d fit in as a backup, right?

I think Dukes is still capable of being a good player, he’s certainly inexpensive and he is probably worth a flier. Just not by the Mets. If there’s something a guy with Dukes’ history doesn’t need is an alternately bored and rabid press like that which covers the New York teams.  How about someplace quiet like Kansas City or Pittsburgh or some other island of misfit baseball toys? Places where he’ll (a) represent an upgrade; and (b) won’t be subjected to the kind of scrutiny that he, quite frankly, doesn’t want and doesn’t need.

Of course, given my biases and rooting interests, if the Mets are hellbent on signing him, far be it from me to get in their way . . .

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.