Report: Joe Torre would listen if Mets came calling

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You just knew this was coming.

According to Mike Puma of the New York Post, “a person close to” Joe Torre says the Mets might be the “only team” that could lure the 70-year-old away from retirement.

“The
Mets are certainly an inviting situation because they have a lot better
personnel than their record shows,” the person close to Torre said.
“The injuries have hurt them.”

“Money
shouldn’t be a factor for the Mets if they really want [Torre],” the
person close to Torre said. “You look at what their attendance figures
are, and I’m sure Joe would build some excitement among the fans, which
is definitely needed there.”

Just the other day, Jon Heyman of SI.com told us that the Mets see ticket sales as a key issue,
so the possibility shouldn’t be discounted entirely. According to Puma,
Wally Backman remains the favorite to be the Mets’ next manager, but
some question whether he is ready to lead a major league team. One
scenario, Puma reports, is that Backman would be groomed for the job as a
bench coach to Torre, similar to Don Mattingly in Los Angeles.

Hiring
Torre would certainly create some temporary buzz in New York, but he
wouldn’t re-invigorate the fanbase like Bobby Valentine would, nor does
he have any of that fiery, impassioned spiritedness that many columnists
claim the Mets so desperately need. Besides, the Mets aren’t likely to be a contender next season and they will probably balk at his asking price.

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.