Michael Young

Report: The Red Sox want Michael Young “badly”

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While Jose Iglesias has been a pleasant surprise for the Red Sox this season, recently taking over the starting third base job from the demoted Will Middlebrooks, the club is on the lookout for other options. And they have one name at the top of their list.

George A. King III of the New York Post was told by an industry source that the Red Sox want Phillies third baseman Michael Young “badly.” With Kevin Youkilis potentially out for the season following back surgery and Alex Rodriguez a question mark following hip surgery and the uncertainty of the Biogenesis investigation, King speculates that the Yankees could also be a fit.

Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. has said on multiple occasions that he has no intention to be a seller, though things could obviously change if the team falls further out of the race in the next month. They’ll enter play today at 39-42 on the season, 7 1/2 games behind the Braves in the National League East and 6 1/2 games back for a Wild Card spot.

Young is batting .289/.348/.412 with five home runs and 21 RBI in 74 games with the Phillies this season. Acquired from the Rangers during the winter, the 36-year-old is still owed around $8 million for the rest of the season. He has a full no-trade clause, so he would have to sign off on a potential deal.

While Iglesias has received most of the playing time at third base for the Red Sox of late, he’s starting at shortstop today in place of Stephen Drew, who left last night’s game with hamstring tightness. The Red Sox called up Jonathan Diaz today as a stopgap option for the hot corner.

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.