Clemente

Baseball announces the Roberto Clemente Award nominees

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The Roberto Clemente Award goes to the Major Leaguer who “best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual’s contribution to his team.” David Ortiz won it last year.  The 2012 nominees — one per team — were just announced and are listed below.

One complaint first. It’s the same complaint I lodge every year. Baseball has set up a fan voting aspect to this. Which makes no sense because (a) I can see no way which your average fan can gauge a player’s community involvement, either quantitatively or qualitatively; and (b) if they can’t, it’s just a fan popularity vote, which shouldn’t be a part of an award that is about something like community involvement.

All we can hope is that baseball makes the fan voting component a tiny, tiny part of it. Anyway:

Arizona Diamondbacks – Willie Bloomquist
Atlanta Braves – Tim Hudson
Baltimore Orioles – Jim Johnson
Boston Red Sox – Jon Lester
Chicago Cubs – David DeJesus
Chicago White Sox – Jake Peavy
Cincinnati Reds – Todd Frazier
Cleveland Indians – Jason Kipnis
Colorado Rockies – Michael Cuddyer
Detroit Tigers – Miguel Cabrera
Houston Astros – Wesley Wright
Kansas City Royals – Alex Gordon
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim – C.J. Wilson
Los Angeles Dodgers – Clayton Kershaw
Miami Marlins – Logan Morrison
Milwaukee Brewers – Rickie Weeks
Minnesota Twins – Justin Morneau
New York Mets – Johan Santana
New York Yankees – Mark Teixeira
Oakland Athletics – Brandon McCarthy
Philadelphia Phillies – Jimmy Rollins
Pittsburgh Pirates – Chris Resop
St. Louis Cardinals – Matt Holliday
San Diego Padres – Luke Gregerson
San Francisco Giants – Matt Cain
Seattle Mariners – Felix Hernandez
Tampa Bay Rays – David Price
Texas Rangers – Michael Young
Toronto Blue Jays – Ricky Romero
Washington Nationals – Ryan Zimmerman

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)
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.