Heyman looks at this year's free agent class

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Jon Heyman’s latest column has him talking to some agents and executives and people in an effort to handicap this winter’s free agent class. Some tidbits:

  • Carl Crawford will sign for $120 million over seven years, according to Heyman’s panel. I can see this, actually. Not saying it’s the best deal for any team — seven years is forever for a fast guy — but I can see someone paying it.
  • “One agent” predicted that Derrek Lee would get $24 million over two years. In other news, “one agent” is smokin’ peyote or something.
  • The Phillies apparently offered Jayson Werth a Jason Bay deal, but it was rejected (this before he hired Boras). Heyman’s sources — who, in a refreshing bit of disclosure he makes clear did not include Scott Boras — think that Werth will get $85-$95 million.  Again, I could see it.

What I see animating the free agent season the most? At least at the top end? The fact that, in my mind, the Yankees aren’t going to be terribly interested in either Crawford or Werth. At least not to where they’ll set the market for them in the way they’ve done in the past. I could see them swooping in late if the market flags, but I think they’ll be more interested in Cliff Lee and various spare parts, and leave the outfielders for someone else.

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.