ensberg pose

Morgan Ensberg on Manny: “You are a fake and a cheat”

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Former MLB infielder Morgan Ensberg, who played against Manny Ramirez several times, is not happy with the way the slugger cheated the game and then retired before accepting a 100-game suspension:

How could you?  You coward!  You are a fake and a cheat and now you want to retire?  No way!  You get back out there and you take the pain.  You stand in front of the cameras and tell us that you are a fake.  Tell us that you only care about money.

Ensberg backs away from those initial comments a bit in this stream-of-consciousness post on his personal blog, but the words are pretty strong throughout and far more scathing than some of the reaction we’ve heard from different players and managers still in the league. It’s a worthwhile read for baseball fans seeking an opinionated player’s true perspective. Ensberg ends with this:

“When my kids ask me about baseball and the Steroid Era, I will look at them and say, ‘You know you don’t have to cheat to make it in life. All you have to do is try as hard as you can.'”

Ensberg had 574 hits and 110 homers over the course of an eight-year career. He retired at the age of 32.

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.