Theo Epstein

Blame Theo Watch: Jon Morosi piles on

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Once was interesting. Twice was eyebrow raising. But the third “Blame Theo” article in a little over 24 hours means we have a full-fledged phenomenon on our hands.  The lastest: Jon Paul Morosi from Fox, who says “Epstein, for all his skills as a general manager, failed to accumulate the pitching depth required to win the American League East.” He goes on:

Epstein has been on the job for nearly a decade, and yet Lester is the only homegrown pitcher to have a 200-inning season for the Red Sox in that span. For an organization of these resources and smahhhts, there’s no way that should be the case.

He ends by noting that the Rays have all kinds of pitching depth and that that’s what separates them from the Sox. At least he does note that, for now anyway, the Sox are still two games up on the Rays.

Look, I’m not going to say Epstein is perfect, but dear lord, I can’t recall a single instance where the general manager has been held so pointedly responsible for an otherwise well-constructed team suffering a boatload of injuries and sub-par performances from people who were not at all expected to have sub-par performances.

Especially before it becomes clear that the team’s failings, whatever the cause, have cost them anything of consequence.

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.