Texas Rangers v Tampa Bay Rays, Game 2

What they’re saying about the Matt Garza trade…

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The Rays and Cubs agreed to an eight-player trade involving right-hander Matt Garza on Friday afternoon and then completed that trade on Saturday after routine physicals were taken and the correct paperwork was filed.

The Cubs received Garza, outfielder Fernando Perez and left-handed pitching prospect Zach Rossup from Tampa Bay.

The Rays got top pitching prospect Chris Archer, shortstop prospect Hak-Ju Lee, outfield prospect Brandon Guyer, catching prospect Robinson Chirinos and outfielder Sam Fuld from Chicago.

Now, a look at several post-trade reactions from around the baseball media landscape…

* Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times: “Landing Garza is a significant response to upstart Cincinnati’s pitching-driven division title last season and division-rival Milwaukee’s recent trades for Shaun Marcum and Cy Young winner Zack Greinke.  It gives the Cubs a Ryan Dempster-Garza-Carlos Zambrano top three to their starting rotation and makes the back end look stronger.”

* Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times: “As highly regarded as [the Rays’ minor league] system is — ranked third by Baseball America before the trade, second now — the trade provides some needed balance as they were much deeper in pitching prospects than position players.”

* Ben Nicholson-Smith of MLB Trade Rumors: “If any team could afford to spare a starter, it was the Rays, who still have David Price, James Shields, Jeff Niemann, Wade Davis and Jeremy Hellickson.”

* Dave Cameron of FanGraphs: “In name value, it’s a big step backwards, and will likely be viewed as just a cost-saving move by the general public. In reality, though, there’s a good chance that the Rays will be better next year by trading Garza away.”

* Al Yellon of Bleed Cubbie Blue: “Matt Garza, Carlos Zambrano and Ryan Dempster make a very solid top three starters for the 2011 Cubs. Get good years out of #4 and #5 and improved bullpen performance, and the team has a shot at real improvement in 2011.”

* Tommy Rancel of ESPN 1040 Tampa: “This is one of the more complex trades made in the Friedman Era. On the surface, it looks like the team is giving up some ground in 2011, but Hellickson’s transition should ease that pain; especially if it comes with a big-time DH.”

* Keith Law of ESPN.com: “I love this trade for Tampa Bay. They got more for Garza than Kansas City did for Zack Greinke although their package of players is, collectively, further away than what the Royals got. It looks to me like the Rays focused less on position and more on overall value.”

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.