Don Baylor interviewing with Blue Jays to replace Cito Gaston

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Jon Heyman of SI.com reports that the Blue Jays have received permission from the Rockies to interview Don Baylor as a potential replacement for Cito Gaston.
Baylor is currently Colorado’s hitting coach, but managed the Cubs from 2000 to 2002 and the Rockies from 1993 to 1998. He compiled a career record of 440-469 (.484), including a 34-49 mark in 2002 before getting fired by the Cubs midway through the season.
According to Heyman’s sources, Gaston “has been trumpeting Baylor for the managing job behind the scenes.” Baylor is believed to be one of as many as 15 candidates likely to receive preliminary phone interviews before the Blue Jays narrow down the list.
Toronto has reportedly already interviewed former Indians manager Eric Wedge and former Mariners and Diamondbacks manager Bob Melvin, and Heyman notes that Yankees third base coach Rob Thomson and Blue Jays third base coach Brian Butterfield are also expected to get calls.

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.