Jason Vargas

Mariners put Jason Vargas, Kevin Millwood on trade waivers

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That’s the word from FOXsports.com’s Ken Rosenthal:

I can’t help but think the Dodgers would put claims in both, though it’s entirely possible neither will make it out of the American League unclaimed.

Vargas, 29, is 13-8 with a 3.75 ERA  and a 111/45 K/BB ratio in 180 innings this season. Not only is he cheap this year, but he’s under control for another year in arbitration. He’ll probably make $6 million-$8 million in 2013.

Millwood, 37, is a free agent at season’s end. He’s 4-11 with a 4.28 ERA and a 100/48 K/BB ratio in 145 innings. He’s especially struggled of late, posting a 5.76 ERA in five starts this month. However, he has been a surprisingly solid pitcher away from Safeco Field this year, amassing a 4.38 ERA in 13 starts.Vargas, in comparison, has a 4.62 ERA in his road outings.

The Orioles were known to have interest in Vargas before the trade deadline and might well put in a claim now, even though they just picked up Joe Saunders from Arizona. The Angels and Tigers might also be in the mix here. The Angels have the worst record of any AL contender, so they would seem to have first dibs unless a non-contender claims Vargas thinking he can help in 2013.

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.