Ryan Doumit

The Twins agree to two-year deal with Ryan Doumit

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UPDATE: MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger reports that it’s a two-year, $7 million extension through 2014.

4:05 PM: It was everything I could do to not append my usual “for some reason” to the end of that headline. But I’m trying to be nicer.  Anyway, Jerry Crasnick reports that the Twins and Doumit are nearing a multi-year deal.

I sort of liked the one-year deal they gave Doumit in the offseason. They didn’t know how much they’d be getting from Joe Mauer and where, so sure, even though Doumit is a terrible defensive catcher, he could be useful.

But multiple years? Eh, not sure I see why they want to do that, or at least why they want to do that now. There are 1B/DH guys with some pop available every winter, so why anyone would want to make that kind of commitment is kind of beyond me. It’s not like the Twins are one moderately-useful bopper away from a pennant, ya know?

Oh well. Doumit is hitting .271/.332/.443 on the year with 7 homers while splittling time between catching and DH. And soon he’ll have better job security than a lot of other should-be journeyman sluggers.

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.