Seattle Mariners v New York Yankees

Mariners believe Aardsma will be ready for Opening Day

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The Mariners announced this evening that closer David Aardsma will have surgery on January 3 to repair a torn labrum in his left hip.  It’s news that is going to put a halt to the M’s attempts to trade the right-hander, but all indications are that it won’t affect their 2011 season.

According to Larry Stone of the Seattle Times, Aardsma will be ready to begin a throwing program just four weeks after the procedure and should be fully recovered by Opening Day.

He’s not going to be back to full health when spring training opens in late February, but relief pitchers only require a handful of warm-up appearances during the spring and it sure sounds like he’ll be good to go by mid-March.

Aardsma posted a 3.44 ERA and 1.17 WHIP over 49.2 innings for Seattle in 2010, collecting 31 saves in 36 opportunities.  If he’s not ready when the 2011 season begins, Brandon League will probably handle the ninth inning in his place.

Aardsma, 29, is likely to be shopped again in the summer if the Mariners do as poorly as expected.  Despite carrying Felix Hernandez, the 2010 AL Cy Young Award winner, Seattle scored a league-low 513 runs and finished with 101 losses last season.  They haven’t done much to improve the club this winter.

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)
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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.