Larry Bowa was in Houston last week meeting with the Astros, but the team declined to say what exactly it was about other than general manager Jeff Luhnow saying “baseball-related matters.”
Bowa was more forthcoming yesterday, admitting that he was indeed there to interview for the manager job. That means Bowa is now one of five known candidates for the gig, along with interim manager Tony DeFrancesco, Nationals third base coach Bo Porter, Red Sox bench coach Tim Bogar, and Rays bench coach Dave Martinez.
Bowa stands out from that group because he’s 66 years old and has tons of managing experience, going 81-127 (.389) with the Padres from 1987-1988 and 337-308 (.522) with the Phillies from 2001-2004. He also stands out because he’d seemingly be an odd choice for the Astros’ analytical, sabermetrically inclined front office.
Bowa, who’s currently working for MLB Network as a television analyst, called his meeting with the Astros “a good interview” and “a good conversation.”
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.