Carlos Marmol has the highest strikeout rate in MLB history

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Just before the All-Star break I wrote about how Carlos Marmol was on pace for the highest strikeout rate in baseball history among pitchers with at least 50 innings.
In the two months since then he hasn’t missed quite as many bats, but the Cubs’ closer is still on an historic track. Marmol has racked up an amazing 120 strikeouts in 68.2 innings, which works out to 15.73 strikeouts per nine innings.
Not only is that the best strikeout rate of all time, Marmol is the only pitcher to ever crack 15 per nine innings:

                    YEAR      SO/9
CARLOS MARMOL       2010     15.73
Eric Gagne          2003     14.98
Billy Wagner        1999     14.95
Brad Lidge          2004     14.93
Armando Benitez     1999     14.77
Billy Wagner        1998     14.55
Billy Wagner        1997     14.38

In terms of this season Rafael Betancourt has the second-highest strikeout rate at 12.83, which is 23 percent fewer strikeouts per nine innings than Marmol. Amazing.

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.