UPDATE: According to Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun Sentinel, Marlins general manager Larry Beinfest said that he believes Leo Nunez will be the team’s closer next season.
“I think it’s going to be be Leo [Nunez], but we have to filter that out in spring training.”
Well, I doubt the Marlins would pay him $4 million just to be a set-up man. They have made some questionable moves this winter, but they can’t be that silly, right? If Nunez sticks, he’ll probably close. I could still see him getting traded, though.
1:20 PM: Sources tell Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald that the Marlins are expected to tender a contract to Leo Nunez.
Nunez, 27, compiled a 3.46 ERA, 71/21 K/BB ratio and went 30-for-38 in save chances this past season. He was removed from the closer role after a nightmare month of August, where he posted an ugly 9.38 ERA and blew three saves.
Nunez made $2 million this season, so he could rake in close to $4 million in arbitration this winter. The Marlins could still consider trading him in order to clear some payroll, especially if they plan to sign another starting pitcher in free agency. Don’t be surprised if Ryan Webb, who was picked up in the Cameron Maybin deal last weekend, ends up closing games in Florida at some point next season.
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.