Seattle Mariners v Oakland Athletics

O’s looking to acquire Duchscherer, might have made offer

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There are only a couple of free agents remaining on the open market who could have real value in 2011.  Justin Duchscherer is one of them.

The 33-year-old right-hander boasts an excellent 3.13 career ERA and 1.14 career WHIP across eight major league seasons.  He has struggled to stay healthy in recent years, but his numbers have remained strong during the times that he has not on the disabled list and he told Britt Ghiroli of MLB.com last week that he is “pretty much 100 percent” heading into spring training this season.

The Nationals are hoping to land him, according to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com.  The Mariners want him too, a source told Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun.  The Orioles are also in the running, and they might have the best shot right now.

According to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com, Baltimore is “in the lead” for Duchscherer and may have already given him a one-year major league contract offer.

The right-hander would probably get a chance to land one of the final spots in the O’s staring rotation this spring.  Brian Matusz is a lock, Jeremy Guthrie is too.  But Duchscherer could probably beat out some of the other young pitchers in Orioles camp if he simply shows that his hip is intact.

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.