Jayson Stark reports what the Padres’ continued success in the standings is making inevitable: Adrain Gonzalez — once thought to be the plum of this year’s trade deadline pie — isn’t going anywhere, so teams have basically given up even asking the Padres about him.
Makes sense. It’s one thing to disappoint your fan base by trading your big star when you’re losing, but doing so when you’re winning is positively unthinkable. I hate to be as cynical as this, but I wonder if there hasn’t been one or two conversations among Padres’ officials that start out with “you know, winning is totally awesome, but man this makes it harder to build for the long term . . .”
Winning aside, Stark reports that the Padres are still willing to shop Heath Bell. That also makes sense inasmuch as a Certified Closer can be created pretty easily these days. Winning or not winning, a team can stand to give up a relief pitcher if the price is right. Even one as good as Bell.
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.