Rangers 5, Rays 1: Cliff Lee was ridiculous again, striking out 11, walking no one and topping it all off by rescuing those Chilean miners (note: I had a few last night so I may have this mixed up). It’s why the Rangers got him. It’s why everyone else covets him. It just blows my mind that he’s played on four teams in the course of two seasons. Yeah, I know there were reasons for him being moved each time he was moved, but if he was my pitcher I would hide him someplace and only allowe him to show himself for opposition domination purposes. Then he has to go back into safe keeping.
A nice season for the Rays ends badly. At times — especially early in the season — they played like the best team in baseball. At other times — middle of the summer; this series — they looked like a good but not great team. The dominant narrative of their winter will be the inevitable departure of Carlos Pena and Carl Crawford. I think they’ll survive those losses, but most people will cry doom. And then, once again, the Rays will surprise everyone.
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.
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.