Ubaldo Jimenez AP

Ubaldo Jimenez declines option with Indians, hits free agency

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Ubaldo Jimenez is no dummy. After seeing Tim Lincecum get $35 million, Jimenez said thanks but no thanks to the Indians after they exercised their half of the $8 million option for 2014, thereby becoming a free agent.

Jimenez had a nice bounce back year for the Indians. Going 13-9 with a 3.30 ERA in 32 starts. Whether that was a fluke or a return to form for Jimenez — who was putrid in 2012 and whose 2011 wasn’t anything close to his best years prior — is an interesting question. All of his rate stats and peripherals went in the right direction, so there is hope. But, yeah, it could have been a fluke.

Regardless, in this day and age pitching gets paid. And Jimenez stands to make way, way more than that $8 million the Indians were, in essence, offering him. They will no probably give him a qualifying offer of $14 million or so today and he will have to decide if he wants that.

My guess is he says “nope” and takes a multi-year deal. Because really, outside of the Masahiro Tanaka derby, Matt Garza and Ervin Santana, there isn’t a ton of pitching to be had on the free agent market.

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)
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.