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Padres sign free agent right-hander Josh Johnson to one-year, $8 million contract

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Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com shares the following breaking news:

Free-agent starter Josh Johnson has reached agreement on a one-year, guaranteed $8 million contract with the San Diego Padres, a baseball source told ESPN.com.

The deal includes additional performance bonuses based on games started, the source said. Johnson was in San Diego for a physical exam Tuesday and the contract is expected to be announced by the club Wednesday.

The Padres are a nice fit for Johnson, who will be looking to revitalize his career after posting a rough 6.20 ERA in 2013 for the Blue Jays. San Diego’s Petco Park is one of the more pitcher-friendly environments in the big leagues — even with the recent wall tweaks — and Johnson should be able to produce far better numbers if he’s healthy.

Johnson, 29, drew interest from the Giants, Pirates and Royals before settling Tuesday with the Friars.

He had a 3.15 ERA in 916 2/3 innings with the Marlins before being shipped to Toronto last winter.

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UPDATE, 11:45 p.m. ET: Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors says Johnson can earn $1.25 million on top of the $8 million guaranteed if he makes 26 starts. Also from Dierkes: the Pirates were the runners up.

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.