HBT Weekend Wrapup

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It occurred to me as I was driving eight hours back to central Ohio, away from the clear blue waters of Lake Michigan, away from the clean and cool air of the north, away from the fresh cherry pie and away from the easy, uncrowded and unhurried pace of life in my little vacation abode that I could easily write this blog from anywhere, so why not there?

But I have responsibilities here. Kids in school. A wife with a real job. A cat to feed. A fortified compound to patrol.  That kind of thing. I guess the sign of a truly good vacation is that you find yourself obsessing over real estate listings of the area after you’ve left. Alas.

Anyway, here’s what you missed while wondering if you could trust civilian movers to relocate your fortified compound to a little hamlet in Leelanau county:  

  • The Marlins are concerned
    about having to share a playing surface with the Dolphins. Maybe they
    should just lie about how much money they make and hoodwink Dade County
    and the City of Miami into paying for a new ballpark against the will of
    the taxpayers while simultaneously enriching themselves. Oh wait, they already did that.
  • Aroldis Chapman hit 105 on the radar gun. Probably the same one that cop used to clock me at 84 in that speed trap town in New Mexico a few years ago. I mean, no question, both the fastball and I were moving. I just kind of doubt that we were going that fast.
  • Someone needs to tell Nyjer Morgan that, given how he’s not that good at baseball, his primary selling point as a major leaguer is his infectious enthusiasm, positive attitude, old-timey stirrups and hustle (not necessarily in that order). In other words, he really needs to cut out all the bad guy stuff.

And with that, we can dive into this week and push the thoughts of vacationland out of our heads.

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)
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.