Beckham pranked by White Sox GM Kenny Williams

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White Sox infielder Gordon Beckham has struggled overall this season after a stellar 2009 debut and he was linked in a few different trade rumors over the past week.  With those rumors in mind — false or not — GM Kenny Williams decided to play a prank on the youngster just before Saturday’s trade deadline.

This link from the Chicago Tribune has video of Beckham explaining the situation. 

A “stern-looking” Williams motioned the second baseman into a closed-door meeting room where manager Ozzie Guillen was sitting, and the general manager took over from there.

“I had Ozzie close the door and sat Gordon down in the chair and said,
‘Well, I would really like to say one thing to you before I get into the
nuts and bolts of this stuff,'” Williams said. “‘That at-bat you had
last night, where you pushed across that run, it was one of the best
at-bats you had all year. I just want to say nice job.’

Beckham replies “that’s it?” and laughter ensues.  He is hitting .372/.395/.603 in the month of July with three homers and 13 RBI, but his overall numbers are still pretty ugly.  Maybe the nerves he experienced during Saturday’s prank will work like a shot in the arm.  For now the 23-year-old has a .664 OPS over 327 at-bats.

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.