It’s unclear whether Jose Reyes will be able to make Opening Day — for what it’s worth I agree with the Post’s Joel Sherman that it would be folly to push him simply to make Opening Day — but when he does return, Jerry Manuel says he’s likely to bat leadoff. This is a reversal of earlier plans to move Reyes down to the three spot while Carlos Beltran is out. By putting Reyes back at the top of the order, Angel Pagan is likely to move way down — like to sixth or seventh — with Luis Castillo hitting second, David Wright third and Jason Bay cleanup.
The article says the change is because Reyes won’t have time to “to get comfortable hitting in more of a power spot” with which he is unaccustomed. I don’t pretend to know more about lineup construction than Jerry Manuel does, but apart from stealing less, is batting third that terribly different from leading off? Reyes doesn’t become a different hitter simply because he’s batting third. He doesn’t gain power. Hopefully he’s trying to get good pitches and drive the ball no matter where he hits. What, exactly, is there to become accustomed to?
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.
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.