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Chad Durbin could return to the Phillies

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Just when it began to look like the Phillies wouldn’t have room for Chad Durbin in their bullpen or their payroll, there’s now a pretty good chance that he will return.

Peter Gammons of MLB Network alluded to the possibility earlier this afternoon and a source tells Todd Zolecki of MLB.com that returning to Philadelphia would be Durbin’s “first choice.”

According to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Durbin’s agent Dan Horwits is in talks with two other teams — presumably the Rangers and Rays, based on Gammons’ report — about a potential major league deal, but no offers have been made. If Durbin walks away from the talks empty handed, he may re-join the Phillies on a minor league deal. Gelb writes that Durbin is expected to make his choice in the next 48 hours.

All things being equal, Durbin would rather just return to the Phillies and attempt to win a spot in the bullpen as a non-roster player. And it’s hard to blame him there.

Durbin, 33, has compiled a 3.62 ERA over 226 innings in the past three seasons with the Phillies, including a 3.80 ERA and 63/27 K/BB ratio across 69 innings last year.

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.