Terry Francona, Joe West, Angel Hernandez

Terry Francona fined, avoids a suspension, for his dustup with Joe West

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Terry Francona was tossed from last Friday’s game after arguing an Angel Hernandez balk call (Really? Angel Hernandez called a controversial balk? Shocking.)  In the course of that fracas, Francona and Joe West went at it a bit and bumped into each other several times, mostly at Joe West’s instigation, it seemed.

The disciplinary verdict is in: Francona was fined an undisclosed amount, but he will not be suspended. And based on Francona’s comments as reported in the Boston Herald today, it sounds like Joe West may have been hit harder than Francona got hit:

Francona declined to reveal the amount but praised MLB personnel for having “a pretty good sense of humor about it.” Francona said he told Matt McKendry, specialist of on-field operations, “ ‘I’ll pay it when I get to New York,’ and he said he doesn’t want any Canadian money, even though I think it’s worth more than ours.” Francona said he thought that “(West) should have fouled out, I thought I took the charge.”

I’ve complained in the past that umpires should get disciplined for their bad behavior too. I’ve been told by those inside the game, however, that they do get disciplined, even if we don’t hear much about it. Why we don’t hear much about it is another topic — my guess; the league worries that a long disciplinary record against an ump may erode the respect players have for them — but it’s good to know that they get smacked too.

And if the guys in the league office are joking around with Francona about all of this and not suspending him despite contact with an umpire, you can probably assume that West’s wallet is a lot lighter right now.

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.