The Angels plan on going after Carl Crawford

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Is it too early for some winter hot stove? Nah, never too early.

Ken Rosenthal has a new column up, and it’s got all kinds of random things in it. The thing that caught my eye was his discussion of the Angels’ potential moves this summer, which might include going after a first baseman. They want a rental, though, not a guy under contract for next year, because Kendry Morales will be back. Why not just shift Morales or the new guy to DH?  Because Bobby Abreu will be there. Well wait, why won’t Abreu still be in the outfield?

Because the Angels “intend to pursue Carl Crawford as a free agent,” Rosenthal reports.

All of which makes sense. And despite the fact that the Yankees have been assumed to be Crawford’s ultimate landing spot, the Angels might just try harder to get him. After all, the Crawford-to-the-Yankees speculation arose before Brett Gardner decided to break out to the tune of .309/.396/.415. Not Crawford’s numbers, of course, but a pretty nice cut-market imitation that might inspire the Yankees to look for a different kind of player during their annual winter shopping spree.

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)
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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.