Ryan Dempster

Red Sox looking at Ryan Dempster, Kyle Lohse

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The Red Sox are sitting out the Zack Greinke chase and they don’t seem very interested in spending what it would take to land Anibal Sanchez, but they are kicking the tires on Ryan Dempster and Kyle Lohse, according to reports.

WEEI’s Alex Speier writes about the interest in Dempster, who is seeking a three-year deal. Dempster, 35, had a 2.25 ERA in 16 starts for the Cubs and then a 5.09 ERA in 12 starts for the Rangers last year. His stint with the Rangers was his first in the AL after 15 seasons in the NL.

CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman has the Red Sox and Angels among the suitors for Lohse, who wants a four- or five-year deal. Lohse, 34, went 16-3 with a 2.86 ERA for the Cardinals last season. He was also 2-1 with a 3.98 ERA in four postseason starts. Lohse has pitched in the NL each of the last six years after opening his career 51-57 with a 4.88 ERA in six years with the Twins.

The Red Sox are also looking at Brandon McCarthy and could well be in the running for Edwin Jackson and Shaun Marcum before all is said and done. They were among the teams that considered Dan Haren, both before he officially became a free agent and afterwards, but according to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo, they were scared off by his medicals.

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.