Tampa Bay Rays v New York Yankees

The guy who caught Jeter’s 3,000th hit is “a couple hundred thousand dollars in debt”

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Look, I’m not saying that the guy had the simplest decision in the world in front of him.  And to hear him describe it during the radio interview he did at WFAN, things were pretty hectic around the time he decided to give the ball back to Derek Jeter.  Security had hustled him out of his seat and into the bowels of the stadium. They were asking him point blank what he wanted for the ball and everything.  No, it wasn’t like they had him in thumb screws or anything, but I can see how the situation may not have been comfort city.

Still, when he answered the following question the way he did, the fact that he gave up a ball that could have meant a couple hundred thousand dollars is all the more facepalm worthy than we first thought:

Is it true your girlfriend jokingly wanted you to keep the ball so you could pay off student loans?

“Yeah I am a couple of hundred thousand dollars in debt thanks to St.Lawrence University. I mean it’s crazy.”

But hey, Jeter has his baseball back, so I guess it’s all OK.

Oh, and if you haven’t voted in our poll yet, please do so. As I write this, “auctioned the ball off to the highest bidder” is trouncing “give the ball back to Jeter” among HBT readers.

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.