Jesus Montero

Yankees send top prospect Jesus Montero to Triple-A

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Jesus Montero was included among the Yankees cuts yesterday, with the 21-year-old stud catching prospect being optioned to Triple-A.

For some reason there are mainstream media members who should know better acting as if his not making the team out of spring training is an indictment of Montero’s long-term upside or a change of plans by the Yankees, but it seems highly unlikely that general manager Brian Cashman and company ever planned on putting an elite 21-year-old prospect in a backup role that may lead to just a couple starts per week.

For one thing he needs to be playing every day wherever he is and for another thing Montero’s defense behind the plate gets mixed reviews at best. Giving him an extended look in spring training before sending him to Triple-A is exactly what everyone should have expected to happen.

In addition to Montero being assigned to Triple-A fellow top catching prospect Austin Romine was assigned to Double-A, leaving Gustavo Molina as the backup to starter Russell Martin (with Jorge Posada around as an emergency option). Molina is replacement-level at best, so the Yankees will likely be scouring the waiver wire for a better option before Opening Day.

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.