AP Granderson

Curtis Granderson is looking forward to shopping around in free agency

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While the focus has understandably been on Robinson Cano and his reported contract demands, the Yankees have another key impending free agent in Curtis Granderson.

Granderson is hitting the open market at a bad time, coming off an injury wrecked season at age 32, but his track record still puts him in line for a big contract and the outfielder talked to Brendan Prunty of the Newark Star Ledger about shopping around:

You get an opportunity to see if there’s other interest out there. You get a chance to finally make a decision for the first time in your professional career, where you might want to go play. You get to take your time and decide certain things.

As for his odds of re-signing with the Yankees …

I’m not the one writing the checks here, so I can’t answer that. Talk to those people up there that do that. It’s something I’m looking forward to. It’s my first time to be able to do it. So we’ll see how it all plays out. I’ve enjoyed my time here. In four seasons, it’s been great. The organization, from top to bottom, has been good to me. I’ve enjoyed the city, everything about it. At the same time, it’s definitely a business. And we’ll see how it all ends up shaking out.

To me that sounds like he doesn’t expect the Yankees to make a huge effort to keep him, but that’s admittedly reading between lines that may not actually exist. New York continuing to limit payroll (relatively speaking, of course) could make for some very tough decisions.

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.