Citi Field

Should the Mets move the wall in at Citi Field?

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This comes up about twice a year and people like to talk about it, so hey, why not?  Go read Marty Noble over at MLB.com opining that the Mets should move the fences in at Citi Field because it’s killing David Wright and making home runs scarce and all of that:

Right field at Citi need not be Yankee Stadium-esque, but it needs to be smaller and more inviting to men who swing the bat. The tall wall in left-center could be moved a tad closer and perhaps shortened. But as is, it facilitates extra-base hits and, as Shea Stadium did in all directions, legitimizes the home runs that are hit. Leave it alone.

Right field is the rub. The club isn’t about to turn away from the advertising revenue the Mo Zone generates in right. Its less-than-stuffed pockets need all available pennies. But the Mets ought to eliminate, adjust or move the Zone and make life easier for their best player and most recognizable face. Eliminate Mo, add some seats — they may be necessary again one day — and give David Wright a fighting chance to hit 30 home runs.

I’ve never been a fan of these kinds of arguments. The Mets wanted a pitcher’s park so they built one. If they can’t trot out a pitching staff that takes advantage of that more than the pitching staffs of the visiting teams do, well, that’s kind of tough.  As it is, the Mets have scored more runs at home than they have on the road in each of their two full seasons in Citi Field and are currently averaging slightly more at home in the early going this year. Don’t go changing the organizational strategy every couple of years. And in this case, at least make sure that the problem is actually the park’s dimensions rather than your poor team before making rash decisions.

The argument I hear most frequently in favor of moving the fences at Citi Field?  It would make David Wright’s statistics look better.  And that’s really not a reason to go messing with the fences.

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)
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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.