Bronson Arroyo throwing

Dusty Baker questions Bronson Arroyo’s health after latest poor start

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Bronson Arroyo allowed five runs in six innings yesterday, giving up at least four runs for the six straight start as manager Dusty Baker wondered publicly whether the veteran right-hander is pitching hurt:

I don’t know. We have to discuss it and find out if indeed there is something wrong. Everybody’s a little banged up. We have to discuss it and hopefully he get a truthful answer from Bronson.

Arroyo had mono during spring training and dealt with a back injury earlier this season, but told John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer that he’s healthy now. “I feel decent, but I’m just not getting it done.” Instead he spoke about how not being able to “lock teams down” and “giving up way too many homers” is “totally frustrating.”

Arroyo’s strikeout and walk rates are basically identical to last season, when he won 17 games with a 3.88 ERA and was given a three-year, $35 million extension at age 34. However, he’s allowed a league-high 30 homers in 127 innings after serving up a total of 29 homers in 216 innings last year and his average fastball velocity is just 86.8 miles per hour compared to 88.0 mph in 2010.

Maybe he’s pitching through some kind of injury or maybe he’s just a 34-year-old fly-ball pitcher who lost a little velocity that he didn’t really have to spare in the first place. Either way, the Reds can’t feel very good about the decision to sign him to an extension that pays $7 million in 2012, $6.5 million in 2013, and $15 million in deferred payments going all the way to 2021.

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.

Royals sign Danny Duffy to a five-year, $65 million contract extension

KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 02:  Starting pitcher Danny Duffy #41 of the Kansas City Royals pitches during the game against the Detroit Tigers at Kauffman Stadium on September 2, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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The Kansas City Royals have signed starter Danny Duffy to a five-year, $65 million contract extension.

Duffy was arbitration eligible this offseason and would’ve been a free agent next winter if he hadn’t signed the deal. Given his stuff he might’ve made a mint as a free agent, but he’s also been inconsistent at times and any pitcher is an injury away from losing a payday, making this a nice, lucrative bet for the lefty.

Duffy, 28, posted a 3.51 ERA and a 188/42 K/BB ratio across 179.2 innings in 2016.