Jonathan Broxton

Reds’ NL-best bullpen adds Jonathan Broxton from Royals

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You wouldn’t think the Reds would need more bullpen help, what with Aroldis Chapman and Sean Marshall leading a relief corps that has the best ERA in baseball, but Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that Cincinnati has acquired Jonathan Broxton from Kansas City for minor leaguers Donnie Joseph and J.C. Sulbaran.

Broxton signed a one-year, $4 million deal with the Royals this offseason and took over as closer following Joakim Soria’s elbow injury. He’s saved 23 games with a 2.27 ERA, although his 25/14 K/BB ratio in 36 innings is sub par and well below the dominant numbers he once posted for the Dodgers.

Broxton gives the Reds a hard-throwing, late-inning bullpen option from the right side to go along with Chapman and Marshall from the left side. And the Reds now have seven relievers on the roster who’ve thrown at least 35 innings with a sub-3.50 ERA.

Joseph was the Reds’ third-round pick in 2009 and the 24-year-old left-hander has racked up 279 strikeouts in 208 innings as a minor leaguer to go along with a 3.50 ERA, reaching Triple-A this season. Sulbaran was their 30th rounder in 2008 and the left-hander has posted good strikeout rates with sketchy control as a starter, spending this season at Double-A as a 22-year-old. Neither is a top-ranked prospect, but the Royals did well to get them for a two-month bullpen rental.

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.