Orioles might be close to cutting bait on Garrett Atkins

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MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli speculates that the Orioles could designate Garrett Atkins for assignment Saturday when they need a roster spot to call up scheduled starter Brad Bergesen.
This offseason Atkins signed a one-year, $4.5 million deal with an $8.5 million team option or $500,000 buyout for 2011, which struck me as a bad investment for the Orioles given his rapidly declining numbers and particularly questionable production away from hitter-friendly Coors Field.
Sure enough Atkins has hit just .219 with one homer and a .574 OPS in 43 games, with his yearly OPS since a career-year in 2006 now looking like this: .965, .853, .780, .650, .574. Atkins also hit just .233 with a .302 on-base percentage and .394 slugging percentage away from Coors Field combined during the previous three seasons, so the move was doomed from the start.
Acquired from the A’s yesterday, Jake Fox is one-tenth as expensive with vastly more defensive versatility and likely more offensive upside at this point. Atkins was a bad signing and now he’s just a sunk cost.

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.