Red Sox president and CEO Larry Lucchino was on MLB Network Radio’s “Inside Pitch” on Sirius XM yesterday and Alex Speier of WEEI.com was nice enough to transcribe it for everyone.
Lucchino spent a good chunk of the interview downplaying the absurd notion that the Red Sox are suddenly cheap, but he also confirmed that the club has offered spring training invites to both Jason Varitek and Tim Wakefield. They’ve yet to hear a decision from either player.
“We’re hopeful that those guys will make decisions before spring training starts as to whether they would like to come back. They have each been invited to come to camp. But Tim is approaching his 46th year I think. Jason Varitek is approaching his 40th year. Those things are hard decisions. They have both been enormously valuable to the club,” said Lucchino. “Whenever they choose to retire — and retirement is inevitable at some point, obviously, whether it’s this year or its next year — we will always have a place of respect and admiration in the Red Sox organization. But the decisions are now kind of in their hands as to what they’d like to do in this particular season.”
Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington told Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe on Wednesday that he hopes to have a definitive resolution with Varitek and Wakefield by next week. Neither player is a fit on the current projected roster, so odds are we’ll have some retirement pressers on the agenda real soon.
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.