darvish getty japan team

So did anyone come close to the Rangers’ bid for Darvish, or not?

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Yesterday we heard that the Toronto Blue Jays came really close to the Rangers’ $51.7 million bid for Yu Darvish.  As the day wore on into night, however, multiple reports surfaced suggesting that, no, the Jays didn’t bid that high and that in fact no team came anywhere close to what the Rangers’ bid.

I’ll accept that, I suppose. But I also can’t help but wonder if it serves a team’s interest to say such a thing after the fact, even if it isn’t true.  Bid close and lose on a guy like Darvish and someone may accuse you of not having the guts to go the extra mile. Of miscalculating or something.  Put the word out there that you were nowhere near the Rangers’ bid, however, and maybe a narrative is created in which the Rangers clearly overbid and, my, aren’t we wise for not being so silly with our money.

I’m not married to that explanation. I can see that it may cut in a couple of different directions. I just think it’s always smart to be somewhat critical when multiple reports related to information we can’t possibly know from other sources comes out.  For every leak, there’s an agenda, even if it’s a small and benign one.

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.