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Brad Penny is still looking for work

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We last saw Brad Penny pitch with the Giants in a relief role at the end of the 2012 season. He was bothered for a few weeks in August into September by a shoulder impingement, which prompted him to take the 2013 season off. However, he has been throwing and according to Troy Renck, he has been throwing well. Renck suggests the right-hander might make for a good risk-free signing.

Penny, however, is 35 years old, coming off of a year-long break, and hasn’t shown even a competent ability to miss bats since 2011. In 181.2 innings in 2011, Penny struck out just nine percent of batters faced, which was the worst rate among all qualified starters — markedly worse than Carl Pavano’s 10.7 percent strikeout rate in second-place. In 28 innings in 2012, he struck out 7.5 percent of batters. He lost about 2 MPH on all of his pitches since 2010 as well, which likely explains the inability to miss bats.

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.