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Chase Headley follows disappointing year with knee surgery

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After spending the first two weeks of the year on the disabled list Chase Headley returned to play 141 of the Padres’ final 148 games, but now that the season is over Marty Caswell of 1090-AM in San Diego reports that he underwent arthroscopic left knee surgery.

Last season Headley led the NL in RBIs and finished fifth in the MVP voting, but he hit just .250 with 13 homers and 50 RBIs in 600 plate appearances this season, seeing his OPS drop from .875 to .747. Headley has now played six full seasons and never come within 100 points of last year’s career-best OPS, so for now at least his 2012 looks like an aberration.

This time last year there was talk of the Padres possibly trading Headley for a big return and speculation about him breaking the bank as a free agent eventually, but now he’s heading into his final season under contract at age 30 with a lot of question marks. He hit 31 homers in 2012 and has hit a grand total of 49 homers in his other 670 career games.

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.