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The final NL All-Star balloting update before the teams are set

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There’s still time to vote, but if it ended now, the NL All-Star team would look like so.

Changes to possible starters: Ryan Braun pulled ahead of Melky Cabrera for the third outfield slot, reversing last week’s reversal. Otherwise, the same old same old, with the changes only affecting downballot stuff:

CATCHER
Buster Posey, Giants: 3,335,982
Yadier Molina, Cardinals: 3,119,530
Carlos Ruiz, Phillies: 2,448,942

FIRST BASE
Joey Votto, Reds: 4,475,180
Lance Berkman, Cardinals: 1,516,737
Freddie Freeman, Braves: 1,462,586

SECOND BASE
Dan Uggla, Braves: 2,641,361
Brandon Phillips, Reds: 1,870,966
Jose Altuve, Astros: 1,479,652

THIRD BASE
David Wright, Mets: 2,687,818
Pablo Sandoval, Giants: 2,223,269
David Freese, Cardinals: 2,064,351

SHORTSTOP
Rafael Furcal, Cardinals: 2,323,486
Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies: 2,064,021
Starlin Castro, Cubs: 1,395,820

OUTFIELD
Matt Kemp, Dodgers: 4,118,524
Carlos Beltran, Cardinals: 3,717,483
Ryan Braun, Brewers: 3,168,617
Melky Cabrera, Giants: 3,045,884
Andre Ethier, Dodgers: 1,948,973
Matt Holliday, Cardinals: 1,880,342
Andrew McCutchen, Pirates: 1,685,543

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.