Javier Vazquez Yankees

Report: Javier Vazquez would be interested in joining Nationals

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According to Bill Ladson of MLB.com, Javier Vazquez is interested in pitching for a team on the East Coast, including the Nationals.

Vazquez, 34, would prefer to play for a team on the East Coast because he wants to be closer in proximity to his family in Puerto Rico. The veteran right-hander had a limited no-trade clause in his most recent contract, blocking deals to AL West and NL West teams.

Vazquez suffered through the worst season of his career in 2010, posting a 5.32 ERA in 31 games (26 starts) with the Yankees while averaging just 6.92 K/9 and a career-high 3.72 BB/9. The velocity on his fastball checked in at a career-low 88.7 mph and he complained of a dead arm during the season.

He won’t come anywhere close to the $11.5 million salary he earned in each of the last three seasons, but assuming he’s actually healthy, Vazquez could make sense for any number of teams as a bounceback candidate, especially if he returns to the National League. We know that the Nationals intend to go out and add starting pitching this winter, so assuming they’ll be unsuccessful in their efforts to sign a big-ticket item like Cliff Lee or even a second-tier starter like Jorge De La Rosa, Vazquez would be a pretty good fit.

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.