A lot of hot stove handicappers were assuming that the Cardinals would re-sign free agent Jake Westbrook this offseason because apparently Dave Duncan liked him, Westbrook responded well enough to the change in scenery and it’s not hard to see him pitching well in St. Louis over the next couple of years. That thinking may no longer be operative, according to Ken Rosenthal, who reports that the Cardinals’ talks with Westbrook “seem to have lost momentum.”
Apparently the sticking point is that Westbrook wants more than a two-year deal, and the Cards are less-inclined to give him one. Given that, after Cliff Lee, the free agent pitching market isn’t any great shakes, it seems likely that Westbrook could get a three-year deal — which is kind of the going contract length for a middlin’-to-above-average starter these days — elsewhere. Milwaukee would probably jump at him, as would a lot of other teams looking to solidify the staff.
As for the Cardinals, their fourth starter’s position may very well continue to be a revolving door.
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.