Chuck Greenberg says he's going to try to sign Cliff Lee

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I mentioned this earlier this morning but it kind of got buried so I’ll mention it again: last night, amidst the euphoria of winning the auction for the Texas Rangers, soon-to-be new Rangers owner Chuck Greeberg said some big stuff about the guy most considered to be a half-season rental:

ESPNDallas.com: Now that you’re about to become the owner officially, how hard will you work to re-sign Cliff Lee?

Greenberg: We’re going to work really, really hard.
Cliff is not only a great pitcher; he’s an exemplary professional,
teammate and role model. We are going to do everything we can to keep
him. We’ve got a period of time where we’ve got a chance to demonstrate
to him how special it’s going to be to be a part of the Rangers family,
and that’s what we’re going to be, a family. We’ve got a great group of
guys on the team, a committed ownership and a great front office. We’re
going to do the best we can to show him he’s found a home and that this
is a place where he wants to be.

I guess that will be the first true test of whether the $85 million in extra cash and $68 million in overall sale price occasioned by the bankruptcy gambit and auction will impact the Rangers on the field.

I’d say that he has no chance if the Yankees get involved but, hell, this is the guy who just out-bid Mark Cuban so doubt him at your peril.

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.