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Yu Darvish announces that he will be posted on Thursday

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Courtesy of Google’s Japanese-to-English translation service (hey, we’re doing what we can here people) comes this announcement from the personal blog of Japanese right-hander Yu Darvish:

This time, having decided that Darvish posting system to use. The announcement will convey to everyone here, because most of the fans. The baseball team Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters I really appreciate it. However, just because it still took a posting procedure can not speak for more at this stage. I would like the conference will be all fixed.

In other words, Darvish is leaving Nippon Professional Baseball and heading to the major leagues, and will address any questions at a press conference soon. He’ll become available for posting bids on Thursday and is expected to draw offers from some of baseball’s biggest spenders.

Darvish, 25, posted a stellar 18-7 record, 1.44 ERA and 276/36 K/BB ratio across 232 innings this past season for the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters. He had a 1.99 career ERA in seven total NPB seasons.

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UPDATE: Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker has a far better translation of the Darvish blog post and was kind enough to let us use it. Patrick’s site does a great job of tracking NPB headlines. Check it out.

To all the fans, an announcement

At this time, Yu Darvish has decided to use the posting system.

Because I wanted to relay this to the fans first, I am announcing this here.

I greatly appreciate the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters Baseball Club.

Because we’ve only just begun the posting process, I can’t talk about the details now.

I wish to hold a press conference once everything is decided.

Yu Darvish

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.