Mike Moustakas

Mike Moustakas benched so that he can work on swing

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The Royals said Wednesday that Mike Moustakas will get the next two days off so that he can work on an adjustment to a swing that’s produced a .194 average to date.

Moustakas, who was called up nearly two months to replace Wilson Betemit as the Royals’ starting third baseman, has just one homer — that coming in his second big-league game — six doubles and 10 RBI in 155 at-bats.  His .505 OPS ranks seventh worst of everyone with at least 170 plate appearances this season:

1. Reid Brignac (SS Rays): .453
2. Brandon Inge (3B Tigers): .483
3. Chone Figgins (3B Mariners): .484
4. Franklin Gutierrez (OF Mariners): .487
5. Tsuyoshi Nishioka (INF Twins): .492
6. Jeff Mathis (C Angels): .494
7. Moustakas: .505
8. Alberto Gonzalez (INF Padres): .520
9. Brandon Crawford (SS Giants): .536
10. Alex Rios (OF White Sox): .540

Moustakas, the second overall pick in the 2007 draft, still has a very promising future, but it looks like the Royals misjudged his readiness for the majors.  His .284/.347/.498 line for Triple-A Omaha wasn’t really all that impressive all things considered.  Of the 15 players to have at least 100 plate appearances for Omaha this season, seven have posted better OPSs than Moustakas’ .845 mark.  Eric Hosmer, in comparison, hit .439/.525/.582 prior to his callup.

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.