Miguel Olivo

Reds sign Miguel Olivo to minor league contract

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Cincinnati was seemingly set at catcher with Ryan Hanigan and Devin Mesoraco, but Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports that the Reds are close to signing Miguel Olivo.

Olivo has long been overrated by people who focus on his strong arm and 20-homer power rather than his historically awful on-base percentages and passed ball totals, so perhaps it’s just a minor-league deal for the 34-year-old and they aren’t going to send Mesoraco back to Triple-A.

Mesoraco had a disappointing rookie campaign, but his playing time was sporadic and he’s a 24-year-old former first-round pick one season removed from being a top prospect. Plus, in struggling he still posted a higher OPS than Olivo last season. And Hanigan played well as the primary starter last year, hitting .274 with a .365 on-base percentage.

UPDATE: Sure enough, it’s a minor-league deal with an invitation to spring training. So any teeth gnashing over Mesoraco’s status can probably wait, at least a couple weeks.

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.