Alfonso Soriano

Cubs trying to dump Alfonso Soriano on the Orioles

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Theo Epstein doesn’t want it. Maybe Dan Duquette will.

According to the Chicago Tribune’s Phil Rogers, the Cubs are willing to pay the “bulk” of the $54 milion that Alfonso Soriano is owed over the next three years in order to send him to Baltimore. It’d be the same journey once taken by another well-compensated Cubs outfielder: Sammy Sosa was traded to Baltimore in Feb. 2005 for Jerry Hairston Jr. and Mike Fontenot, with the Cubs kicking in part of the $17 million he was owed.

Soriano hit .244/.289/.469 with 26 homers and 88 RBI in 475 at-bats for the Cubs last season. He was better in 2010 but worse in 2009, and he hasn’t played in more than 147 games in any of his five years with the Cubs. It’s hard to imagine the Orioles would take him on as anything more than a $4 million-$5 million per year player, but even if the Cubs have to pay $35 million-$40 million of Soriano’s remaining salary, it could well be worth it just for the chance to move on.

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.