Casey Kotchman, Chris Carter

Chris Carter is going to be disappointed when the A’s send him to Triple-A

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A’s prospect Chris Carter told Jane Lee of MLB.com that he’s hoping to win a spot on the Opening Day roster despite a very crowded outfield/designated hitter picture following the offseason additions of David DeJesus, Josh Willingham, and Hideki Matsui.

At the end [of last season] I thought I could be their guy coming in and making the team. Now, it’s definitely more of a competition. I don’t know my chances now of making the team with the signing of new players. I’d like to think I’m going into camp with an opportunity to make the team. We’ll see how it turns out.

He’s going to be disappointed. Daric Barton is locked in at first base, Matsui was signed to a one-year, $4.25 million deal to start at designated hitter, and the starting outfield is pretty much set with Willingham and DeJesus flanking Coco Crisp. Unless the A’s decide to keep the 24-year-old Carter around as a bench bat and platoon starter he’s destined for a second straight season at Triple-A.

In fact, A’s director of baseball operations Fahran Zaidi all but admitted that they have him slated for the minors when talking to Melissa Lockard of Scout.com:

Going out and getting David DeJesus and Josh Willingham is not an indictment of what we think of Chris Carter. He’s a guy who is still very much a part of our long-term plans and a guy we are still very much excited about. We just think that he could use a little more seasoning after hitting .258 in Triple-A.

Carter could also use a lot more practice as an outfielder, because after playing mostly first base in the minors the 6-foot-5, 230-pounder looked absolutely brutal in 156 innings there for the A’s and Barton seemingly isn’t going anywhere at first base.

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.