San Francisco Giants owner Bill Neukom speaks to the fans at a rally after his team's World Series victory parade in San Francisco

Bill Neukom out as Giants CEO; new guy says payroll, priorities staying the same

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As was reported last night, Bill Neukom was forced out as the Giants CEO and he was replaced today by Larry Baer.  There was a press conference about all of this earlier this afternoon and Mychael Urban of CSNBayArea.com was there to cover it.  The highlights:

  • Although the original reports of the ownership group’s displeasure with Neukom (that he didn’t communicate well with the other owners and that they learned about stuff in the newspaper first) were downplayed, they weren’t denied, either.  No one said Neukom was “forced out,” but no one said he wasn’t either (Neukom quibbled with that characterization). Which, if you’ve been around business people for any amount of time in your life means that (a) there were communication problems; and (b) he was forced out;
  • Payroll is not going to go down.  This doesn’t mean it will go up, but it’s not going down; and
  • There will be no change in the Giants’ views about the A’s in San Jose. Meaning: the Giants still don’t want the A’s in San Jose.
  • Neukom is divesting his ownership interest. Which is sort of what happens when a guy gets shoved aside by his partners.

As a whole, this sounds like a primarily internal thing. It doesn’t sound like the ownership group had grave issues with what Neukom was doing in any way that will affect the fan experience.

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.