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Jake Peavy: Many Red Sox players “holding out hope” Stephen Drew returns

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The decision isn’t up to the players, but Red Sox right-hander Jake Peavy had an interesting comment on free agent shortstop Stephen Drew this morning:

The Red Sox haven’t officially closed the door on Drew, but Alex Speier of WEEI.com hears that it would likely be limited to a one-year deal or one-year deal with a player option which could help the team for luxury tax purposes. Otherwise, top prospect Xander Bogaerts will take over at shortstop.

If Drew wants a guaranteed multi-year contract, he’ll likely have to get it elsewhere, but it’s tough to see where he gets it at the moment. The Mets continue to downplay the chances of a match while the Yankees reportedly aren’t interested despite an obvious need for depth.

Drew, who turns 31 in March, hit .253/.333/.443 with 13 home runs and 67 RBI in 124 games for the World Series champions last year while playing excellent defense at shortstop. He declined a one-year, $14.1 million qualifying offer from Boston in order to test free agency, so he is attached to draft pick compensation.

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.