Ricky Nolasco and the Marlins haven't made progress on a contract extension

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Ricky Nolasco has been shut down for the rest of the season with a torn meniscus in his right knee and Juan C. Rodriguez of the Florida Sun-Sentinel reports that his contract extension talks with the Marlins are also “going nowhere.”
According to Rodriguez “a significant gulf exists between the two sides” and “don’t hold your breath for a celebratory press conference.”
Nolasco is represented by agent Matt Sosick, who after some initial problems was able to work out a four-year, $39 million deal for Florida ace Josh Johnson, but with Nolasco already under team control through 2012 and age 29 as an arbitration eligible player the Marlins don’t have a ton of reason to commit guaranteed money to him.
Plus, because his ERAs have typically been much worse than his secondary numbers Nolasco should be relatively affordable via the arbitration process. He finishes with a 4.51 ERA this season after posting a 5.06 mark last season, although his strong win-loss records could help balance that out when the panel decides on his value.

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.