The Cubs are worried about Piniella's health

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Thumbnail image for piniella_090818.jpgHeyman’s new column is mostly about the starting pitching market, but there’s not a ton new there.  Here’s something interesting, though: the Cubs management is worried about Lou Piniella’s health.

I’m glad I’m not the only one who’s been thinking this.  Watching Piniella make that pitching change in the ninth last night was highly uncomfortable. I suppose it’s possible that his slow walk was to give Carlos Marmol a few extra pitches, but this is not the first time I’ve noticed it during Cubs games. He’s got this slow heel-toe thing going on — not to mention the beach ball gut — that I’ve noticed in relatives whose health was on the decline. I mean, getting fat is one thing, but carrying an anvil in front of an otherwise normal body just looks kind of . . . scary.

I obviously have no idea what the state of Piniella’s health is — I’m just reacting emotionally to what I’ve seen of him — and I obviously hope he’s fine.  But the look about him combined with what Heyman’s sources with the Cubs are saying is rather unsettling.

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
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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.