Lance Berkman

Lance Berkman is in the best shape of his life

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Usually, BSoML stories are mock-worthy. In Lance Berkman’s case, it’s serious business. That’s because Berkman is trying to do that which is not usually done: move right on the defensive spectrum in his mid-30s.  As Joe Strauss notes, however: Berkman is taking this very, very seriously:

“If I have a repeat of last year I’m probably out of the game,” Berkman says. “While that doesn’t really bother me, I feel like God has given me a gift to play the game, and I want to take full advantage of that. I don’t want to see it end because I’m not in the best possible shape. If my skills have eroded, fine. That happens to everybody. But I don’t want it to be because I didn’t put in the best possible effort forth to be in great shape.”

And he’s putting in that effort, Strauss reports.  He’s dropped 20 pounds, has reduced his body fat, has overhauled his diet and is working on agility drills and stuff daily.

I worry about Berkman in the outfield.  I desperately want him to succeed, however. Maybe because I like Lance Berkman. Maybe because I’m getting older and I’m feeling out of shape myself and want to believe that you can arrest the march of time, at least for a little while.

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.