Carlos Ruiz AP

Phillies re-sign Carlos Ruiz to three-year contract

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General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. made it clear that the Phillies were prepared to move on to other catching options if Carlos Ruiz wanted to take his time making a decision, but that won’t be necessary as Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that Ruiz is re-signing with Philadelphia.

Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that it’s a three-year, $26 million contract, which is the type of commitment not often made to soon-to-be 35-year-old catchers coming off down seasons.

Ruiz was heavily linked to the Rockies right away this offseason and reports last week had him being offered at least $20 million over two years by some team. Troy Renck of the Denver Post says that team wasn’t the Rockies, who apparently offered Ruiz a two-year, $15 million deal with a 2016 option.

Ruiz, who’s spent his entire eight-season career with the Phillies, sat out the first 25 games on suspension this year and then hit .268 with five homers and a .688 OPS for his worst production since 2008. He did, however, hit well during the final two months.

UPDATE: Gelb says the three-year deal also includes a fourth-year team option for 2017, when Ruiz will be 38 years old.

UPDATE #2: Ruiz’s contract includes $500,000 bonuses for each season if he starts 125 or more games at catcher. His career-high? 113.

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.