Bob Nightengale of USA Today sat down for a candid interview with Arte Moreno. Who, aside from not liking the fact that he gets an earful from fans when he tries to go to his favorite bar, is taking a more zen approach to the Angels’ struggles than you might expect.
He still defends picking up Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton in the past two seasons, saying that on paper they looked like great acquisitions. He is baffled by Hamilton’s struggles but has told him that he’s going to be around for five years so he shouldn’t try to fix all of his problems with one swing. He thinks that GM Jerry Dipoto’s system needs more time to work. He has faith in Mike Scioscia and still considers him the best manager in baseball. The upshot: nothing drastic is going to happen now. All decisions involving personnel and management will wait until after the season is over.
Overall: you gotta kinda like Moreno after reading this interview. He’s not enjoying losing, but he’s well-aware of how lucky he is and how overall Anaheim’s financial and ballpark situation is pretty advantageous to him. You feel like he likes baseball a lot and that he’s just as gobsmacked as any Angels fan that things aren’t working out well on the field right now.
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.