Continuing their offseason plan of stockpiling mediocre veterans, the Pirates have agreed to terms with first baseman Lyle Overbay on a one-year, $5 million contract.
Overbay spent the past five seasons in Toronto, but the Blue Jays made no attempt to re-sign the 33-year-old after he hit just .243 with a .329 on-base percentage and .433 slugging percentage in 154 games this year.
He has a sub-.800 OPS in three of the past four seasons, has slugged above .500 just once in his career, and has the third-lowest OPS among the 19 first basemen to receive at least 1,500 plate appearances since 2008.
Overbay starting at first base likely means Garrett Jones and Matt Diaz will platoon in one outfield corner, with Jose Tabata playing every day in the other corner. Pittsburgh was already said to be aggressively shopping catcher/outfielder Ryan Doumit following the Diaz signing, so with the addition of Overbay pushing Jones to the outfield full time trading Doumit now seems even more likely.
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.