Diamondbacks trade Conor Jackson to A's

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Reports yesterday had the Rangers pursuing Conor Jackson but this afternoon the Diamondbacks traded him to a different AL West team, sending Jackson to the A’s for right-handed reliever prospect Sam Demel.
Jackson missed most of last season with valley fever and has struggled to bounce back this year, hitting just .238 with one homer and a .657 OPS in 42 games. He was a solid hitter from 2006-2008, posting an OPS above .800 each year, but while still just 28 years old Jackson is making $3.1 million and could be a non-tender candidate this winter if he doesn’t get on track in the second half.
Demel was the A’s third-round pick in 2007 and has good stuff, with an average fastball around 92-94 miles per hour and 200 strikeouts in 180.2 innings as a minor leaguer. His control is iffy, but Demel has a 2.61 ERA and 61/30 K/BB ratio in 61 innings at Triple-A and projects as a potential late-inning reliever. Still, that he’s the guy going to Arizona in a 1-for-1 deal shows just how far Jackson’s stock has declined.
While cutting bait on Jackson doesn’t necessarily have any impact on the Diamondbacks’ plans, he might be the first player out the door in a more extensive rebuilding effort that could include Adam LaRoche, Chris Snyder, Kelly Johnson, Aaron Heilman, and perhaps even Dan Haren.

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.

Royals sign Danny Duffy to a five-year, $65 million contract extension

KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 02:  Starting pitcher Danny Duffy #41 of the Kansas City Royals pitches during the game against the Detroit Tigers at Kauffman Stadium on September 2, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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The Kansas City Royals have signed starter Danny Duffy to a five-year, $65 million contract extension.

Duffy was arbitration eligible this offseason and would’ve been a free agent next winter if he hadn’t signed the deal. Given his stuff he might’ve made a mint as a free agent, but he’s also been inconsistent at times and any pitcher is an injury away from losing a payday, making this a nice, lucrative bet for the lefty.

Duffy, 28, posted a 3.51 ERA and a 188/42 K/BB ratio across 179.2 innings in 2016.