Texas Rangers v Houston Astros

“It would be a dream come true” for Bud Norris to play for the Giants

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Jon Paul Morosi sat down with Astros starter Bud Norris. Norris knows the score: he plays for the Astros and, while the Astros are mildly exceeding expectations, he is clearly a guy they will consider trading for prospects at the deadline. And Norris makes no secret of where he’d like to end up: with the Giants, a team which Morosi notes is likely to be in the market for a starter:

“It gives you goose bumps when you think about it … Obviously growing up there, being a big Giants fan — and I rooted for the A’s, too, in the area, but I was more of a Giants fan. That’s a possibility. It’s all trade rumors, as they say. But if it were to happen, it would be a dream come true for me to play for my childhood team.”

Breaking: the City of San Jose immediately sued Norris for not mentioning them, causing them to lose all manner of benefits by not being associated with a major league ballplayer.

Anyway, Norris does note that it’s all out of his control and every rumor you hear about who is looking for pitching is just that: a rumor. But it’s rare to hear a guy talking about how much he’d like to play for a particular team.

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.