Earlier today, second baseman Robinson Cano signed with the Mariners on a ten-year, $240 million contract, leaving the Yankees out in the cold with an infield that includes the embattled Alex Rodriguez, the hobbled Derek Jeter, the recovering Mark Teixeira, and the recently-signed Kelly Johnson. Now that they don’t have to set aside space for Cano, however, the Yankees are free to pursue any free agent they want, and that is exactly what they are doing according to Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY. Nightengale tweets that the Yankees are “in on everyone”, citing outfielders Shin-Soo Choo and Carlos Beltran, as well as infielders Stephen Drew and Omar Infante.
Nightengale also writes that trade rumors involving the Yankees and current Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips are “inevitable”. There has been some off-and-on speculation that the Reds will move Phillips by the end of the Winter Meetings on Thursday.
At ESPN, Andrew Marchand writes that if Japanese pitching star Masahiro Tanaka is posted, the Yankees could get involved in the bidding.
So far, the Yankees have signed shortstop Brendan Ryan (two years, $5 million), catcher Brian McCann (five years, $85 million), outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury (seven years, $153 million), and starter Hiroki Kuroda (one year, $16 million), but it appears they are far from finished.
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.