Shortstop Brian Dozier got the bad news after riding the pine for the second straight game Tuesday; the Twins sent him down and called up Pedro Florimon following the loss to the Tigers.
The timing is decidedly odd. There was plenty of reason to send Dozier down a month and a half ago — I even wrote an entry calling for it — but his play had improved a bit since. He was hitting .225/.249/.306 and had committed 11 errors in 45 games as of my writing. In 39 games since, he hit .245/.297/.364 with six errors.
Obviously, that’s still not the kind of performance the Twins were hoping for, but since it’s mid-August and rosters expand in 16 days anyway, it’s hard to tell what Minnesota’s motivation was here, unless maybe there was an off-the-field situation that factored into the thinking.
The switch certainly has nothing to do with Florimon’s performance. He’s hit .231/.274/.295 in 78 at-bats since the All-Star break for Triple-A Rochester, which is even worse than his overall .251/.308/.345 line in 307 at-bats for the season. He’ll be an upgrade defensively over Dozier, but he’s never going to hit. Odds are that he’ll serve as the backup to Jamey Carroll at shortstop.
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.