Zack Greinke

The Blue Jays have asked about Zack Greinke

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Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun reports that the Blue Jays have inquired about Zack Greinke.

Interesting. No one knows if Toronto is one of the 20 teams for which Greinke has no-trade protection this year (it goes down to 15 next year). On the one hand, Toronto is a giant city, so maybe it’s somewhere Greinke — who has suffered from anxiety disorder — wouldn’t want to go. On the other hand, since he wouldn’t be playing for the Leafs, it’s not like he’d have 25 microphones shoved in his face after every game. For all of its size, Toronto is more of a smallish town in baseball terms.  And of course, none of that may matter a bit because the only people who know the specifics with respect to Greinke’s history with anxiety are him, his wife, his doctor and probably the Royals. It may be that he wants to avoid places like New York because he’s averse to good deli food, not because of the size and bustle of the place. We’re all just guessing.

As for what it might take to land Greinke, it was reported yesterday that Dayton Moore is asking for “two can’t-miss prospects,” one of whom should be a pitcher with Greinke’s ceiling. The Blue Jays have one of those in Kyle Drabek, but that seems like an awfully steep price to pay for a guy who is going to cost $13 million and only be guaranteed to be around for two more seasons.

But hey, the Royals are wheelin’ and dealing already, so maybe something happens with Greinke soon too.

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.