10:30 p.m. EST update: A source told Venezuelan reporter Marcos Grunfeld that Francisco Rodriguez has accepted the arbitration offer. U.S. sources Danny Knobler and Jon Heyman haven’t comfirmed, but they do say it’s likely.
6:15 p.m. EST update: A Boras rep told the Journal Sentinel’s Tom Haudricourt that K-Rod has yet to decide on arbitration. The deadline is midnight eastern tonight.
MLB Network’s Peter Gammons said differently yesterday, but FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal indicates that Francisco Rodriguez is likely to accept arbitration from the Brewers prior to the midnight deadline tonight.
Rodriguez had drawn interest from the Mets and Padres, but both of those teams have filled their closer’s roles in the last 24 hours. The Mets signed Frank Francisco for two years and $12 million last night, while the Padres acquired Huston Street from the Rockies earlier today.
Rodriguez doesn’t want to serve as a setup man for John Axford again, but with the closer market dwindling, he could stand to make far more money in arbitration than elsewhere. Rosenthal speculates that he’d earn $13 million next year that way. It’s possible a trade could follow; when Rafael Soriano surprised the Braves by accepting arbitration two years ago, a deal with the Rays was quickly worked out afterwards. As much as K-Rod wants to close, he probably wouldn’t stand in the way.
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.
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.