Rickie Weeks

Rickie Weeks and the Brewers agree to $50 million extension

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UPDATE: Rosenthal now says it’s a five-year deal worth $50 million, but the Brewers can void the fifth year if Weeks “is not an everyday player in 2013 and 2014.” That provision eliminates some of the health-related risks, but that’s still a huge investment in player who’s provided star-level value just once in five seasons.

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Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reported yesterday that Rickie Weeks and the Brewers were working on a contract extension for at least three and as many as five years, and now Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that the two sides have agreed to a four-year deal with a team option for 2015.

No word yet on the money, but Haudricourt guesses it “would well exceed $30 million.” Weeks had been seeking $7.2 million in his third and final season of arbitration eligibility while the Brewers countered at $4.75 million. They had a hearing scheduled for tomorrow.

Weeks is coming off a career-year that saw him hit .269 with 29 homers, 112 runs, and an .830 OPS. He also stayed totally healthy for the first time, playing 160 games after averaging just 95 games in his first five seasons. Given his injury history committing to Weeks long term is a sizable risk for the Brewers, but he’ll be just 31 years old in the fourth season of the deal and when healthy he’s among the best-hitting second basemen in baseball. Plus, this allows them to avoid letting Weeks walk as a free agent along with Prince Fielder next offseason.

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.