Carlos Beltran

Carlos Beltran “the symbol of failed expectations”

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You’d think that after he was actually traded that New York columnists would stop blaming Carlos Beltran for everything that’s wrong with the Mets.  But I suppose until he plays his first game with the Giants there’s still time to slam him as he walks out the door and pretend that he took more from the Mets than he gave.

Today’s slammer: George Vecsey of the New York Times, who calls Carlos Beltran “the symbol of failed expectations” for the New York Mets and, as so many have done, he reaches back five years in order to do it:

Now that era is over, and Beltran has his name attached to it because he lasted more than six and a half seasons, and personified the time with one signature called third strike to end the seventh and last game of the 2006 National League Championship Series. Even if he had taken one last lusty “Casey at the Bat” swing, and missed, perhaps his fate would have been different. But he gawked.

Vecsey isn’t suffering from Beltran derangement syndrome here — he acknowledges that the problems of the Mets for the past several years ran far deeper — but references to that 2006 NLCS called strike are silly in assessing Beltran’s time with the Mets.  It was one isolated thing that says virtually nothing about him as a player or his contribution to the team.

Ryan Howard looked at a called third strike to end the 2010 NLCS and people don’t treat that as the defining moment of his legacy. Why do so many do it with Beltran?

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.