Hideki Matsui would listen if the A's called

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Hiedki Matsui isn’t having a fabulous year, but it hasn’t been terrible either: .272/.361/.454 with 20 homers.  He’ll likely want to play again in 2011, and I’m guessing some teams may be willing to give him a look.

One team he talked about yesterday was the Athletics, who he tells Susan Slusser, might be a good fit for him:

Matsui
said he likes the Bay Area and he noted that it has a “decent-sized
Asian community.” He also said that the vast Coliseum wouldn’t be any
deterrent as far as he is concerned.

“You could say it’s definitely a big ballpark. There’s a huge amount
of foul ground,” Matsui said. “But I’ve always had a positive
experience there. I’ve hit pretty well there.”

And, as Slusser points out, he has.  He doesn’t seem to make a ton of sense in Oakland, however, unless he’s willing to take a pretty sizable pay cut. After all, the A’s DH this year is Jack Cust.  His production has been fairly similar to Matsui’s — higher OBP, less power — and he’s done it for close to $4 million less than Matsui made.

Given that Oakland let Cust basically walk last winter only to sign him, send him to Sacramento and then bring him back to the big club, it’s not like there are a ton of bidders for his services.  They can probably pay him around the same in 2011 that they paid him this year, and stick with the devil they know rather than take a chance on one they don’t know. And if they truly want to improve an offense that really needs improving, they need to better than either Cust or Matsui.

Either way, I hope there is furious bidding for Matsui this winter. Because I really want to see my friend again.

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.