John Farrell, Dan Iassogna

And in other news, Dan Iassogna is still an idiot

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Tigers reliever Phil Coke came into Sunday’s game against the Red Sox with two outs, a man on second and a pair of lefties due up in Adrian Gonzalez and David Ortiz.

Apparently, he prefered to face Ortiz.

Coke threw the first pitch behind Gonzalez’s head and then plunked him in the back with the next one. It was obvious retaliation for the Red Sox hitting Miguel Cabrera in Saturday’s Tigers rout. Yet home plate umpire Dan Iassogna had not a clue.

After the HBP, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine came out and appeared to argue that Coke should be tossed for intentionally throwing at Gonzalez. Iassogna ignored him, but after Valentine returned to the dugout, crew chief Dale Scott met with Iassogna and seemingly instructed him to issue warnings. He certainly had no plans to otherwise.

Of course, that only further aggravated Valentine. If the umpires thought they were purpose pitches, Coke should have been tossed immediately. If they didn’t think so, why issue warnings?

Perhaps someone else would have better taken control of the situation. Iassogna, though, is one of the game’s worst umpires, and if things escalate between the Red Sox and Tigers, it’ll be in part because he was so clueless.

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.