This year’s All-Star Game starting pitchers, Justin Verlander and Matt Cain, are certainly both big names with excellent track records, but it’s interesting to note that the honor of starting an All-Star Game doesn’t always go to elite pitchers.
Obviously any pitcher who starts an All-Star Game is by definition having an excellent season at the time–so please hold onto those angry comments and e-mails–but here’s a list of some All-Star Game starters during the past 20 years: Esteban Loaiza, Terry Mulholland, Brad Penny, Charles Nagy, Kenny Rogers, Derek Lowe, Ubaldo Jimenez.
I could go on, but you get the idea.
Back in 2006 the game featured a scintillating Kenny Rogers-Brad Penny matchup and following Roger Clemens’ start in 2001 the American League had a five-year run in which they started Derek Lowe, Esteban Loaiza, Mark Buehrle, Mark Mulder, and Kenny Rogers.
Verlander-Cain is pretty damn good.
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.
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.