Petco Park

The Padres are thinking about altering the dimensions of Petco Park

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Dan Hayes of the North County Times reports that the Padres are thinking about the place they call home:

Padres interim CEO Tom Garfinkel said the club plans to study what effects reducing Petco Park’s spacious outfield might have on the team’s offense. The Padres could submit plans to Major League Baseball after the season in hopes of turning Petco into a more hitter-friendly park in time for the 2013 season.

Another way to go with this could be to simply schedule more day games in Petco, because the ball flies a lot better then than it does after that heavy marine air seeps in at night. I suppose that’s unpalatable for a lot of reasons, however, given that a lot of people, you know, work during the day.

Whatever the case, Petco is clearly the most extreme pitcher’s park in baseball. But someone has to be, right?  I know each club has to do its best to maximize its revenue and to optimize its competitive position, but I really do like having some variance in these things across the league.  While, yes, offense is on the decline these days, we still have a lot of hitter friendly parks around and we could use some pitcher friendly ones to balance that out.

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.