Francisco Rodriguez

Francisco Rodriguez open to returning to Mets next season

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Francisco Rodriguez was back in New York last night for the first time since being traded to the Brewers last month. Among other things, he told Matt Ehalt of ESPNNewYork.com that he would be open to returning to the Mets as a free agent.

“Definitely. I understand this is a business, they did what they needed to do and feel what they need to early in the year to trade me, (but) the door is still open,” Rodriguez said. “I’m not the type of person that is going to burn bridges and say, no, I’m not coming this place because they trade me or whatever. I’m open-minded and open to come here to New York once again in the future.”

Rodriguez is in the final guaranteed year of a three-year, $37 million contract. Upon his trade to Milwaukee, his $17.5 million option for 2012 was converted to a mutual option with a $4 million buyout.

K-Rod is just saying what an impending free agent is supposed to say, but this is a highly doubtful scenario. The Mets seem committed to giving the younger, cheaper Bobby Parnell an honest audition as closer and while Sandy Alderson plans to upgrade the bullpen this winter, I see them looking toward low-cost, risk/reward types like Jonathan Broxton. Assuming his right arm is still attached to his body, that is. Haven’t heard from that guy in a while.

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)
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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.