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Congratulations Skip Bayless: you had the dumbest reaction to the Cliff Lee news in all of media!

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Skip Bayless lives to be contrary. We know that. But the key to being a halfway decent contrarian is to be at least half-smart about it, and to cause people to think a bit as a result of your less-than-intuitive position.

As his rant on Cliff Lee going to the Phillies makes clear, however, thinking isn’t big on his agenda. Not only is Cliff Lee equivalent to LeBron James in his mind — he calls him “LeBron Lee” —  but “clearly he did not want the pressure of being THE ace” in Texas. “He did not want the pressure of going to the big city,” and “being THE reason the Yankees would be once again favored to win it all.” Bayless says he “lost a lot of respect” for Lee as a result.

Anyone want to bet a dime that if Lee signed with the Yankees Bayless wouldn’t slam him for being greedy? Anyone want to bet a dime that if Lee signed with Texas Bayless wouldn’t slam him for being afraid of the east coast? I know he’s a hack and I know we shouldn’t take guys like that seriously, but the fact is that he’s on a platform watched by millions, and many people’s opinions about baseball are formed by such garbage. Makes me want to cry.

But I guess he’s so handsome, friendly and inviting that ESPN is OK with overlooking his ineptness as an analyst in the interests of drawing a broader demographic. Which is totally understandable.

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.