UPDATE: It looks like Andy Martino had this story first, and in greater detail. His is a better account, so be sure to check it out.
This is something you don’t hear every day: two Mets prospects — Zack Wheeler and Aderlin Rodriguez — got into a kerfuffle during a couple of intrasquad games in Port St. Luice recently.
Adam Rubin reports that Rodriguez hot dogged his way around the bases after hitting a home run off Wheeler in one game and then, in a subsequent game, Wheeler drilled Rodriguez in the hand, which Rodriguez had feared was broken. Rodriguez then threatened Wheeler. They have since been called on the carpet and things are allegedly OK now.
All that said: Wheeler has a ticket to the big leagues in the near future. Rodriguez is a third baseman on the one team in baseball who has the least need for a minor league third baseman any time in the next several years. So it would not be at all surprising to see Wheeler and Rodriguez renew their special friendship for different teams one day.
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.