Arizona Diamondbacks v San Francisco Giants

Melvin Mora to miss some time because of a car accident, which leads me to two random observations

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Jack Magruder reports that Diamondbacks’ third baseman Melvin Mora was struck from behind in car accident and will miss a couple of days because of it.

This is not major news, but I pass it along so I can put up two random spring training observations I didn’t get around to making last week:

1) Some scouts hanging around the Dbacks-Giants game I went to talked about Melvin Mora fitting in on the Diamondbacks. They kept saying stuff like “he’s a ballplayer and Gibson likes ballplayers,” and “yeah, he likes to play the game. He’s a player.”  I actually was around a lot of scouts while I was down there and most of them had really insightful things to say, be it about baseball specifically or life in the game in general. I got a lot of laughs and learned some stuff from them.  Those two guys, however: not so much. I have no idea what “he’s a ballplayer” is supposed to mean.

2) Accidents happen everywhere, but I must note that while everyone tends to complain about drivers no matter where they are — people always think that where they live has “the world’s worst drivers!” — I must say that people in the Phoenix area drive quite well.  Not too fast and reckless, not too slow and pokey. People merge properly. People are generally courteous, but not so much that they back up traffic just to let you in. It’s square in the sweet spot of drivability. I’m not sure if there is a cultural geographic reason for this, but one does a lot of driving in Phoenix, and for nearly 10 days I was in constant comfort and easy on the roadways, and I can’t say that about most places I’ve been.

That is all.

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.