Fred Wilpon, Jeff Wilpon

A new potential Mets investor emerges

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Unlike the Donald Trumps of the world, this seems plausible:

Paul Danforth, a former Mets executive who now holds a senior post at CAA Sports, the fast-growing sports division of the Creative Artists Agency of Hollywood, is a lead investor in a group seeking to buy a share of the Mets, according to a person who was briefed on the group’s interest.

He’s affiliated with his father-in-law who happens to be a retired investment banker.  The Times reports that at least three other groups have applied to Major League Baseball to see the Mets’ financial statements. All of them are some fun mix of investment banking types, Wall Street types or entrepreneurs.

Danforth may be more serious than others. He worked for the Mets for 13 years in sales and his father-in-law has banking relationships with the Wilpons going back a decade or more.  If the Wilpons are going to get someone to buy a minority share and nothing more, it may be more likely to be a friend. At the same time, if they do find it necessary to bake in some sort of option to take over into a minority sale, it may likewise be preferable for them to do so with a friend.

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.