Defending Jose Bautista

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Over at IIATMS, Larry takes on the manner in which folks have been trying to, um, inject PEDs into the narrative surrounding Jose Bautista’s 50-home run season.  It’s a good read, with a premise worth thinking about: while we can predict a lot on baseball, the unpredictable can still happen.  It’s funny how people can acknowledge this generally while ignoring it in specific cases like Bautista’s.

I have no idea how Jose Bautista hit 50 home runs this year, but unlke Damian Cox at the Toronto Star and other writers who have tackled the subject, I do not think it is fair to accuse Bautista of PED use or to even “ask the question,” about it, which is just a passive-aggressive way to accuse. There is a testing regime in place right now that, unlike ten years ago, entitles players, I think, until the assumption that they are innocent until proven guilty.

And of course, I continue to wonder why none of the many, many people who excoriated blogger Jerod Morris for “asking the question” about Raul Ibanez last year ago are raising holy hell about the people doing it to Bautista, but that’s probably the subject of another rant.

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.