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The Giants sign Aubrey Huff to a two-year, $22 million deal

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FOX’s Jon Paul Morosi reports that the Giants are on the verge of signing have signed Aubrey Huff to a two-year extension worth $22 million, plus a club option for 2013.

Huff hit .290/.385/.506 with 26 homers and 86 RBIs this year while playing a little left a little right but mostly first base. He started slow, but caught fire in May, June and July before fading in August and September. Still, the Giants would have watched the playoffs from home without him and they certainly could use his pop next season, because there are no sure things in that lineup other than Buster Posey. Huff certainly wanted to stay in San Francisco, and now he will.

As for the deal: I think it’s pretty good for both sides. Huff was a bargain at $3 million in 2010, and he made good as his contract essentially demanded that he do.  I expect a falloff — his 2010 was much like his 2008, but the levels he showed between 2005 and 2007 and in 2009 may be a safer bet — but at only two years he’s worth the gamble.

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.