Jesus Montero

Where will Jesus Montero play for the Mariners?

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Still reeling from that trade last night. Unlike some deals that are rumored for several hours or days, this one sprung from the head of Zeus, fully-formed, in almost no time.  And also unlike so many other deals this didn’t involve a salary dump. The M’s had a stud pitcher and needed a bat. The Yankee had a stud hitting prospect and needed an arm. It was so … simple.

The hardest part of this deal is where to play Jesus Montero when he shows up to camp next month.

Montero has only caught and DH’d in the Yankees system.  And his catching, according to the Yankees and from what people who have seen him play have surmised, is poor. That only leaves a couple of options.

Designated hitter is one. However, one would normally want to avoid putting a young guy like Montero in the DH slot now because once someone DHs they tend to always DH.  The other obvious option is first base.  Except the M’s, however devoid of hitting talent they are, have two servicable options at first in Justin Smoak and Mike Carp. And even if Montero’s future is at first, the M’s are going to want to play Smoak and/or Carp for a while if, for no other reason, than to showcase them for a trade.

Personally, I’d hire the best catching guru I could find to work with Montero and get him into as good as defensive shape as I could and let him catch all year.  If the M’s are not optimistic about his defense, however, or if they’re too tied to Miguel Olivo or whoever, fine, let him DH but think about a future when he can slide to first base.

Either way, this is all a bit of a problem. Although, inasmuch it has been a long time since the Mariners have had a good bat they had to figure out how to fit into the lineup, it’s an admittedly nice problem to have.

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.