Los Angeles Dodgers new right-handed pitcher Greinke speaks at a news conference in Los Angeles

Breaking: Zack Greinke is a normal man, motivated by normal things

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One of the most unfortunate yet unintentionally hilarious things in baseball over the past several years is everyone playing armchair psychiatrist for Zack Greinke.

Yes, the guy took some time off several years ago with an anxiety issue. But, since then, he’s been talked about as if he suffers from some rare and strange disease that has turned him into a cross between, I dunno, Commander Data and a shambling mass of emotion and nerves rather than some guy who, like a ton of other people including a lot of people you know, have some issues with anxiety and depression from time to time.

You could see some of this chatter when Greinke was going out on the free agent market. People talking about “fit” with him in ways they don’t talk about it with other players. People wondering if he’d be more “comfortable” in Texas as opposed to Los Angeles or if, bless his fragile heart, he had better go back to Kansas City or Milwaukee where everything would be OK.

All of which makes his reasons for picking the Dodgers more fun. From Fox Sports’ Joe McDonnell:

Zack Greinke said that when it came down to choosing the Dodgers over other teams pursuing him, it was all about the money.

The new Dodgers right-hander said that he was leaning toward joining the Texas Rangers before taking the Dodgers’ offer of $147 million over six years.

“The negotiations changed,” he said.

Was it the money that put the Dodgers over the top?

Greinke smiled and said: “That’s what it comes down to at the end.”

Like Bogart said: he’s just like any other man, only more so. In this case: normal and honest.

Now, can we please stop treating Greinke like he’s an alien?

 

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.