Elvis Andrus’ eight-year, $120 million contract extension puts an end to any speculation that the Rangers would trade him to clear shortstop for stud prospect Jurickson Profar, but in doing so it opens up another can of worms involving Ian Kinsler.
Profar is arguably the No. 1 overall prospect in baseball, so presuming that the Rangers plan to hold onto him second base seems like the natural destination. Of course, Ian Kinsler is the Rangers’ current second baseman and has been since 2006, making three All-Star teams as one of the best all-around players at the position in baseball.
Kinsler is also signed through 2017, with a team option for 2018. So that means either the Rangers will look to trade the 30-year-old Kinsler to open up second base for the 20-year-old Profar or they’ll slide Kinsler to another position to keep them both. Kinsler could certainly play first base, but while his usual 25 homers and .800 OPS are extremely impressive among second basemen that production would be nothing special among first basemen.
It’s an interesting dilemma for the Rangers and certainly a nice problem to have. It’s also not something that needs an immediate resolution, because Profar is currently at Triple-A and turned 20 years old six weeks ago. But the Rangers are going to have some decisions to make pretty soon. Kinsler is owed $13 million this season and $62 million from 2014-2017.
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.