Giants' Lincecum holds Commissioner's Trophy after his team defeated Rangers in Game 5 to win Major League Baseball's World Series in Arlington

Great moments in provocation: the Giants take their trophy to San Jose

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Bruce Newman of the San Jose Mercury News has a column today about the Giants bringing their World Series trophy for display in San Jose.  According to Newman This Means Something. This is Important:

On Tuesday, the Giants brought their precious metal mantelpiece to San Jose to mark their territorial rights in the most public way possible. Standing 24 inches high and 11 inches in diameter, the trophy looked like what you might get if you asked Tiffany to design a gaudy fire hydrant … If there was any doubt that the Giants will dig in their heels to protect their territory, managing partner Bill Neukom made the trip down to the South Bay to put it to rest. “This county is the heart of our marketplace,” Neukom said. Then he got on the public address system and told the fans the trophy was really theirs.

I guess that means the Giants taking the trophy to Sacramento, Modesto, New York, Monterey and the couple dozen other places they’re going with it means that the Giants are the most expansionist, territory-claiming group of people since Napoleon.

Look, I’m totally sympathetic to the whole A’s-to-San Jose movement, and I know the Mercury-News has been strongly advocating for it for a long time.  But really: sometimes a goodwill tour is just a goodwill tour.  It’s not a shot across anyone’s bow.

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.