alderson at podium

Sandy Alderson “suspected” that Jose Canseco was juicing

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The Mets introduced new general manager Sandy Alderson on Friday afternoon at New York’s Citi Field.  Lost in the shuffle of that impressive press conference was a question about Alderson’s involvement in the steroid era, and specifically former A’s outfielder Jose Canseco.

Alderson served as an executive in Oakland during the late 80s and early 90s, right around the time that Canseco admittedly began juicing.  Some in the national sports media believe that Alderson should apologize because the PED use took place under his watch.  He did not do that on Friday in his first meeting with the New York press, but he did answer the question openly and, well, honestly.  This from the New York Post.

“It’s hard to avoid it in light of Jose Canseco’s book,” Alderson said. “In a nutshell, I suspected Jose Canseco of doing steroids, but I never suspected Mark McGwire. It was a time as an organization we actually had begun to emphasize weight training as a part of a regimen that is now widespread, but at the time may have inadvertently gotten us involved with the steroid aspect.”
Alderson told reporters that he has discussed the issue with members of Congress and cooperated during the compiling of the Mitchell Report.  He also expressed regret about not taking a bigger stand toward stamping out the PED use, but noted that it would have been illegal in California to test the players at the time.  Testing also violated the collective bargaining agreement.  Case closed?

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.