After the Orioles acquired Jake Fox from the A’s earlier this week, Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com speculated that Garrett Atkins would be designated for assignment in order to make room for Saturday’s starter Brad Bergesen. It turns out that won’t happen, as Lou Montanez will go on the disabled list with an oblique strain.
Still, it’s essentially a foregone conclusion that Atkins will be released at some point in the near future. The 30-year-old infielder was signed to a one-year, $4.5 million contract with an $8.5 million club option for 2011 after being non-tendered by the Rockies last December, but entering Friday’s action, he is batting just .219/.282/.292 with one home run and nine RBI over 137 at-bats. He has just 11 at-bats this month and is making his first start since June 14 on Friday.
With the writing clearly on the wall, Atkins told Ghiroli that he doesn’t view his inevitable release as a bad thing.
“Not at all,” he said. “[It would] be a welcome opportunity.”
By the way, Atkins just grounded into a double play with the bases loaded in the bottom of the second inning against the Nationals. He’s doing all the little things to earn his release. You have to respect that.
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.