Josh Hamilton

Rangers GM: Josh Hamilton hasn’t been at his best

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While the Rangers downplayed the idea that anything happened between manager Ron Washington and center fielder Josh Hamilton in the dugout during Wednesday’s season finale, GM Jon Daniels admitted that his former MVP is struggling some at the moment.

Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com has the quotes:

“It’s easy to pick out one guy, but it’s been more than that,” Daniels said. “Has Josh played his best? No. Did he have an unusual injury? Yeah. I think the focal point of media, fans and some of us was the popup yesterday in center field.

“That contributed to the loss, but that’s not why we lost the game. Josh struggling is not why we’ve slumped the last two weeks, but it certainly contributed. The reality is there’s no one reason why we’ve had a rough two weeks. We’ve got a clean slate right now, go out and play tomorrow and win.”

Washington had an exchange with Hamilton in the dugout Wednesday after Hamilton missed a popup in center field, giving the A’s in two runs in what had been a 5-5 game. The Rangers went on to lose 12-5, which cost them the AL West title.

“There was no issue with Josh and I, I don’t care what you’ve seen on the camera,” Washington said. “I’m the manager. I’m allowed to ask questions.”

Hamilton went 10-for-39 with no homers, four RBI and a 17/0 K/BB ratio in the Rangers’ last nine games, seven of which were losses. Miguel Cabrera overtook him for the home run title on his way to the Triple Crown.

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.