Atlanta Braves v Washington Nationals

Ryan Zimmerman and Nationals still discussing contract extension

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UPDATE: Rizzo told Zuckerman that “enough progress has been made” to where there’s a belief that a deal will be finalized at some point Saturday night or early Sunday morning.

10:57 PM: Zimmerman said in an emailed statement late Saturday night that he’s “confident” about reaching an agreement with the Nationals. It’s not known whether that means the deadline has been extended.

1:16 PM: According to Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com, Ryan Zimmerman just said that negotiations with the Nationals are ongoing. His camp proposed a “creative” solution to help bridge the gap and Zimmerman expects resolution “one way or the other” by the end of today. He also indicated that a no-trade clause remains one of the sticking points.

12:05 PM: Ryan Zimmerman hoped to have a contract extension wrapped up with the Nationals before the team’s first full-squad workout at 10 a.m. this morning, but his self-imposed deadline has passed without news of a deal.

Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said “no,” in response to Pete Kerzel of MASNSports.com earlier this morning when asked if there was anything new to report in regards to an extension. Meanwhile, Zimmerman told Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post that he had heard no update.

Zimmerman is due to make $12 million this season and $14 million in 2013 before hitting free agency. He said yesterday that he is willing to sign a “team-friendly” deal, but reportedly wants a no-trade clause included in the contract.

Zimmerman has indicated that he would like to cut talks off today so that his situation doesn’t become a distraction, but Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com suggests that something could still get done in the near future, even if there’s no announcement of a deal today. As Zuckerman notes, the 27-year-old third baseman signed a five-year, $45 million extension in April of 2009 just weeks after saying he would hold off on talks until after the season.

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.