Adrian Beltre

The Red Sox want to keep Adrian Beltre and Victor Martinez

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Red Sox’ GM Theo Epstein held a conference call with the Sox beat writers this afternoon. The most notable nugget, according to Pete Abraham: Theo said “in strong terms” that the Red Sox want Adrian Beltre and Victor Martinez back and that he’s pursuing them. Specifically, he said that Martinez “would certainly be our first choice to be our 2011 catcher and beyond.” He also said that “Our first choice for our third baseman in 2011 and beyond would be to bring back Adrian Beltre.” Thouh he did add that, no, he wouldn’t have any problem moving Youkilis to third if Beltre were gone.

Money aside, those two make the most sense for Boston, as it would be much, much harder to make up for their offense — and in Beltre’s case, defense — via other means. I mean, sure, you could try to trade for one of the big first basemen who may be available and put Youk on third, but then you’re giving up talent elsewhere and you still need a catcher.

Read the whole story — complete with the latest on Pedroia and Ellsbury’s health status — here.

 

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.