Let’s be clear at the outset: contraction is not happening. Even in the articles that talk about people talking about contraction — like Joel Sherman’s from yesterday — it is stipulated that, no this is a non-starter. So what I’m saying is, don’t cite this post or the Sherman column I’m linking as “continuing contraction rumors” or whatever because it’s just talk. It’s like if I were to go on about how Carla Gugino and I could spend a long weekend in a cottage at Big Sur, sipping expensive wine and feeding each other the finest meats and cheeses while listening to Billie Holliday records. Great topic — totally fun topic! — but it doesn’t really mean anything. Well, to anyone besides me, to whom it means everything.
The point: Joel Sherman hears how the contraction thing — which totally isn’t happening — would go down if it were, you know, actually happening. Sherman calls it his Michael Corleone theory, in that it would be used by Bud Selig to settle all family business. Best I can tell is that The Athletics would be Carlo Rizzi and the Rays would be Moe Greene, with Lew Wolff and Stuart Sternberg moving in to take over the Dodgers and the Mets, respectively after Frank McCourt and Fred Wilpon get whacked. Which I guess makes them Barzini and Tattaglia.
Anyway, Sherman talks about how that would all make sense, and also talks about why it won’t happen (same reasons I mentioned a couple of weeks ago).
I hate the idea of contraction, but I like the idea of Bud Selig settling scores like that. Makes him way more interesting. But I still don’t know who “Strachi” was and why Michael had him whacked by Clemenza in the elevator. Even if Clemenza looked cool firing that shotgun through the door.
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.
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.