Ramon Hernandez

Catcher-hungry Mets targeting Ramon Hernandez, Miguel Olivo, Kelly Shoppach

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Adam Rubin of ESPN New York and Joel Sherman of the New York Post both report that the Mets are interested in Rockies catcher Ramon Hernandez, and according to Sherman they’re also interested in catchers Miguel Olivo of the Mariners and Kelly Shoppach of the Red Sox.

All three veterans are right-handed hitters who could platoon with the left-handed-hitting Josh Thole behind the plate and Sherman describes Hernandez as “a longtime favorite of Sandy Alderson,” who was Oakland’s general manager when the A’s signed him out of Venezuela in 1994.

Hernandez is currently on the disabled list with a hand injury and 23-year-old rookie Willin Rosario has hit for a ton of power filling in behind the plate, so it makes sense that the last-place Rockies would be open to trading the 36-year-old Hernandez. He’s owed about $1.5 million for the remainder of this season, but his $3.2 million salary for next season could be an issue. Olivo has a $3 million option or $750,000 buyout for next season, while Shoppach is signed to a one-year deal.

As for what the Mets would give up in a deal, Rubin reports that the Rockies “have always liked” infielder Justin Turner and tried to get him this offseason before dealing for Marco Scutaro instead.

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.