Brandon Wood predictably collecting dust on Angels' bench

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When the Angels traded for Alberto Callaspo last month general manager Tony Reagins was “defiant” in insisting that it wouldn’t lead to Brandon Wood being further phased out of the team’s plans, but predictably that’s exactly what happened.
Earl Bloom of the Orange County Register notes that the Angels have basically been playing with a 24-man roster following the trade, as Wood has batted exactly one time since Callaspo joined the team on July 23.
While the Angels cling to contention and a .500 record at 57-57 and manager Mike Scioscia hands center field over to rookie Peter Bourjos, the fact that Wood has essentially been nailed to the bench for three weeks says all there is to know about his role in the team’s long-term plans at this point. He’s out of minor-league options and thus can’t be sent to Triple-A, but the Angels aren’t quite ready to risk losing him on waivers for nothing yet.
Despite being 25 years old with a .181 batting average and 126/11 K/BB ratio in 421 career plate appearances Wood would almost surely get snatched off waivers by some team willing to give him a shot, so my guess is that he’ll continue to collect dust down the stretch before being traded for pennies on the dollar this offseason.

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.