Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch speculates on a possible offseason trade:
With Carlos Martinez meriting a look-see as a starter — and [Trevor] Rosenthal wanting the same — it’s increasingly likely that general manager John Mozeliak shops Lance Lynn or Shelby Miller to simultaneously create an opening while addressing a core need at shortstop.
Pete Kozma served as the Cardinals’ primary shortstop in 2013 and posted a hideous .217/.275/.273 batting line in 143 games. Daniel Descalso also saw time at short this year in St. Louis, but he’s only marginally better on offense than Kozma and a significant downgrade defensively. The Cards have another internal option in 25-year-old former fifth-round pick Ryan Jackson, who spent the year at Triple-A Memphis, but the major league projections for him aren’t great.
With an abundance of legitimate MLB starters — think Adam Wainwright, Michael Wacha, Joe Kelly, Miller, Lynn, Martinez and Rosenthal — and a ton of money coming off the books between Carlos Beltran, Jake Westbrook, Rafael Furcal and Chris Carpenter, the Cardinals are set up well to make a splash.
Lynn, 26, has a 3.82 ERA, 1.29 WHIP and 9.1 K/9 in 412 1/3 major league innings. He will be arbitration-eligible for the first time next offseason. Miller, 23, owns a 2.94 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and 8.9 K/9 through his first 187 major league innings. He won’t reach salary arbitration until 2016. They’re both excellent trade chips.
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.