Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas reports that the Rangers have hired Shayne Kelley as a major league staff assistant and that one of his duties will be to serve as Josh Hamilton’s new accountability partner.
Kelley has a pretty diverse background, serving as the Royals’ minor league strength and conditioning coach for two seasons and the team chaplain at Alabama from 1996-1999. As such, part of his duties will also include helping out the Rangers’ coaching staff and hitting coach Scott Coolbaugh.
Kelley will take over the role vacated by Jerry Narron, who took the hitting coach job with the Brewers this offseason. Hamilton’s father-in-law, Michael Dean Chadwick, originally volunteered to replace Narron, but had a change of heart last month after discussing the matter further with his family. Chadwick said at the time that he didn’t think an accountability partner was even necessary, but the matter is obviously of increased importance following Hamilton’s relapse with alcohol at a Dallas-Fort Worth area bar last Monday night.
Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said that Kelley has already begun his duties, as he traveled with Hamilton during his visit with MLB and MLBPA doctors yesterday in New York.
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.