More from the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo.
The Yankees and Rangers are locked in a battle for left-hander Cliff Lee, this offseason’s top free agent. And it sounds like the Yanks may strike first with an offer.
Cafardo reports that Brian Cashman and Co. are preparing a proposal worth around $115 million-$120 million over five years. The Rangers plan to match that and the numbers will go up from there. Cafardo says that the Nationals are also in the hunt and have been “aggressive” thus far, but this feels like a two-team race.
Lee, 32, registered a 3.18 ERA and 1.00 WHIP over 28 starts for the AL Champion Rangers this year, fanning 185 batters while walking only 18. There was a report in mid-November that Lee dislikes the Texas heat. And then there was that issue with Yankees fans harassing Lee’s wife during the ALCS. Believe what you want, but we’re thinking he’s simply going to chase the most lucrative deal.
For reference, CC Sabathia landed a seven-year, $161 million deal from the Yanks two offseasons ago.
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.