Nelson Cruz

Report: Mariners want Cruz & Beltran, not so much Ellsbury

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ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick has the Mariners aiming for a couple of outfielders, but not the center fielder they’ve long been connected to.

Ellsbury was born in Oregon and went to school at Oregon State, so it’s long been thought he might prefer a return to the Pacific Northwest if the Red Sox don’t meet his asking price. That might not be in the cards, though. After all, Ellsbury can play defense, and the Mariners aren’t about to pay him to do that.

So, Beltran and Cruz instead? It’s highly unlikely, given that Beltran could have his pick of offers from the Cardinals, Red Sox, Yankees and Rangers. Cruz is a more realistic target, with the Rangers seemingly willing to let him go. Last season’s steroid ban has cut into his market some, but it’s not likely to stop him from getting at least a three-year deal. The Mariners could use him as a corner outfielder next season and then transition him to DH later once they again come to the realization that defense matters.

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.

Royals sign Danny Duffy to a five-year, $65 million contract extension

KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 02:  Starting pitcher Danny Duffy #41 of the Kansas City Royals pitches during the game against the Detroit Tigers at Kauffman Stadium on September 2, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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The Kansas City Royals have signed starter Danny Duffy to a five-year, $65 million contract extension.

Duffy was arbitration eligible this offseason and would’ve been a free agent next winter if he hadn’t signed the deal. Given his stuff he might’ve made a mint as a free agent, but he’s also been inconsistent at times and any pitcher is an injury away from losing a payday, making this a nice, lucrative bet for the lefty.

Duffy, 28, posted a 3.51 ERA and a 188/42 K/BB ratio across 179.2 innings in 2016.