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Jim Hendry fired as Cubs GM

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So much for that vote of confidence last week, huh?

Jim Hendry has been fired as the Cubs general manager, reports David Kaplan of CSNChicago.com.  The termination is effective immediately. Kaplan reports that Hendry is currently meeting with the Cubs in the clubhouse, presumably being thanked by the players for all of those ridiculous contracts he handed out like so much candy.  Randy Bush is the interim GM.

Hendry has been on board since 2002. It has been a surprisingly long tenure for someone with such a poor track record.  The Cubs under his watch managed a decent season here or there, but they are currently hamstrung by bad contracts and poor roster construction.  With $30 million coming off the payroll after this season, it’s a fine time to give someone else a shot.  And that’s what Tom Ricketts is doing.

UPDATE: Hendry is currently speaking to the press, which you can see at CSNChicago.com.  Some crazy stuff going down. Hendry says that he was actually fired on July 22nd, but that he was held on to get through the trade deadline and the signing of draft picks.  If you’ll recall, the Cubs had a profoundly quiet deadline, moving no one of the many players many of us thought they would or at least should move.  Hendry just touched on that saying that “those moves are for the next guy.” Certainly explains a lot.

Also worth noting that Hendry is really, really emotional, crying through the presser. Ugh. I know a lot of Cubs fans were waiting for this day, but there isn’t much joy to be had here.

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.