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Invasion of the Job Seekers

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Everyone who goes to the Winter Meetings knows who the Job Seekers are. They’re the black and navy suit-clad twentysomethings wearing badges that actually say “Job Seeker” on them. They’re there for the Professional Baseball Employment Opportunities job fair. They pay a couple hundred dollars for the privilege of applying for a shockingly small number of low-paying jobs somewhere in professional baseball. You see them sitting for interviews at various tables in and around the hotel. You see them walking around in packs, trying to get up the nerve to talk to managers, assistant general managers and broadcasters. If you’re wearing a badge of your own — like “media” — you see them look down at it as they pass you by and then quickly move on when they realize that you can’t help them become the next general manager of the Tampa Bay Rays.

I’ve always been fascinated by The Job Seekers, but I’ve never actually sat and talked to any of them at length. Jeb Lund did, however, and he wrote a wonderful story about The Job Seekers and the odds and absurdities they face over at SB Nation. The odds?

When I walk away to talk to the next guy, or girl, or the next one after that, I’m struck by how many broadly impressive resumes are here. They often have wildly divergent credentials, but all sound perfectly reasonable — insistent, almost — as qualification for any baseball job. Worse, their end goal of running a baseball team means that they are all trying to fast-track to one of only 30 such jobs in the world. To put this in perspective: There are three times as many available United States Senate positions, and the qualifications for them are vastly lower.

The absurdities? Dealing with John Kruk, for example. Or paying over $1,000 when it’s all said and done in order to maybe — maybe — grab a $17K a year internship that probably has you moving to Idaho or somewhere like it.

It’s a great read. Go check it out.

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)
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.