Oakland Athletics v San Diego Padres

Reds acquire right-hander Mat Latos from Padres in multi-player deal

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UPDATE: The Reds just announced that they have acquired Latos from the Padres for first baseman Yonder Alonso, right-handers Edinson Volquez and Brad Boxberger and catching prospect Yasmani Grandal. Wow. This one is looking a lot better for San Diego.

1:12 PM: Well, the Reds have landed the top-flight starter they’ve been looking for all offseason.

Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the Reds have acquired right-hander Mat Latos from the Padres. Yonder Alonso is among the players being sent to San Diego.

Latos has a 3.37 ERA over his first 72 starts in the majors, averaging 8.7 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9. The 24-year-old began this season on the disabled list with a shoulder strain, but ended up posting a 3.47 ERA and 185/62 K/BB ratio over 194 1/3 innings. He is arbitration-eligible for the first time next winter and under team control though 2015. His home/road splits aren’t all that different, so he should do fine with the move to Great American Ballpark.

Alonso is well regarded for his bat, but was blocked at first base in Cincinnati by Joey Votto. He could probably step in as the starting first baseman with the Padres right away, though one wonders what will happen with Anthony Rizzo, who was acquired from the Red Sox in last winter’s Adrian Gonzalez deal. Perhaps new GM Josh Byrnes has another deal on the way.

Like most of you, I’m eager to see who else the Padres got here. Latos was their most valuable chip, so I’m underwhelmed at the moment.

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.