I tend to put little stock in “Player X is feeling great, killing balls in the batting cage and ready to kick butt this year!” stories. Everyone is optimistic in spring training.
But maybe I should make an exception for those stories involving the Detroit Tigers. Last year that was the buzz about Miguel Cabrera. He lost weight, got in shape, was dedicated and was killing balls in Lakeland. All he did was go on and win the Triple Crown and the MVP. Si or no, motherf****r?
With that in mind, Victor Martinez is healthy again and down in Lakeland. Tom Gage reports:
“Victor looks unbelievable,” McClendon said about Martinez, the Tigers’ designated hitter who missed all of last year because of left knee surgery. “I am really, really impressed with what I’ve seen.
“He’s in great shape, and he’s swinging the bat extremely well. A lot of zip, a lot of pop, it doesn’t look like he’s lost anything.”
Losing Delmon Young and adding Victor Martinez is gonna be a good, good thing for Detroit.
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.