Ron Santo, a man of great pride until the very end…

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Published late Christmas Eve, this inspiring story on Ron Santo’s passing from the Arlington Heights Daily Herald flew largely under the radar during the holiday weekend.

Let’s bring it back to light.

The obituaries will tell you that the Cubs legend passed away on December 2, but Santo’s immediate family knows the real truth.

At 8:30 p.m. on December 2, a Thursday night, the Santo kids said goodbye to their father and doctors pulled the 70-year-old off life support.

But he refused to give up his battle against bladder cancer and beat the odds into early Friday morning.

“They said he could not breathe without the machine,” Jeff Santo told the Herald. “Not only was he breathing but his blood pressure was perfect.

“We were like, ‘What’s going on here?’

“I kept saying to the doctor, ‘The brain tells the body to breathe. The brain isn’t working. So how is this happening? What’s making him breathe?’

“It was very draining. Vicki would say, ‘Ron, it’s OK. You can go.’ We’d say, ‘Dad, it’s time. Let go. You can rest now.’

“My sister Linda had been through a lot and my dad and her had such a strong bond. But she was drained. We had to get her out of the room.

“After about three hours, Vicki and I talked about it, and she was right. He wouldn’t want us staying there staring at him.

“He’d say, ‘Get the heck out of here.’ So we all agreed that it was time to go. We said our goodbyes at 12:30 Friday morning.”

Ron Santo died at 12:40 a.m., Friday, December 3, just 10 minutes after his wife and children left his bedside.  He was a fighter, an inspiration and a man of pride from start to finish.

The Astros’ pursuit of Sonny Gray is “heating up”

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Jon Morosi of MLB Networks reports that talks are “heating up” between the Astros and Athletics on a Sonny Gray trade. Gray, obviously, would represent a big upgrade for the Astros’ rotation. He has a 3.66 ERA and has struck out 85 batters while walking 28 in 91 innings.

Morosi adds that Gray is not the only option for the Astros, as they are also talking to the Tigers about a potential acquisition of Justin Verlander and Justin Wilson. That would obviously be a much tougher deal to negotiate given Verlander’s 10/5 rights giving him veto power over any trade, not to mention the massive amount of money he’s still owed on his contract.

Also: I’m pretty sure that it’s in the MLB rules that any trade between the Tigers and the Astros has to involve Brad Ausmus, C.J. Nitkowski and Jose Lima, and that’s not possible given their current occupations and/or their deaths in 2010.

Marlins trade David Phelps to the Mariners for four prospects

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The Miami Marlins have sent reliever David Phelps to the Seattle Mariners in exchange for four prospects. MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand and Ken Rosenthal had rumors of the deal first, Jon Morosi, Jeff Passan and Jon Heyman (among others) all reported the trade at virtually the same time.

Phelps, 30, had a fantastic 2016 season, posting a 2.28 ERA in 64 games while striking out 11.8 batters per nine innings. He’s not been as strong this year, but he’s still been a solid setup man, posting a 3.45 ERA in 44 games while striking out 51 batters and walking 21 in 47 innings. He throws in the mid-90s and induces grounders. The Mariners could probably use rotation help more than bullpen help, but solid innings are solid innings at one point and improving your pen takes some of the pressure off of your rotation. Phelps will help Seattle with that. He’s under team control for next year too, so this is more than a rental.

The top prospect in the deal is Brayan Hernandez, a 19 year-old outfielder from Venezuela, currently playing in low-A ball. Also in the deal: righty Brandon Miller, righty Pablo Lopez and righty Lucas Schiraldi who, yes, is the son of ex-big leaguer Calvin Schiraldi. None of these guys are blue chippers, but you never know what’ll happen. It’s a volume return for the Fish.

We’ve already seen some big bullpen names move, including David Robertson, Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson. Among others who could be moved:  A.J. Ramos (Marlins); Justin Wilson (Tigers); Addison Reed (Mets); Jerry Blevins (Mets); Brad Hand (Padres); Tony Watson (Pirates); Juan Nicasio (Pirates); Brad Brach (Orioles); Drew Storen (Reds); and Raisel Iglesias (Reds).