Erik Bedard is competing for a spot in the Rays’ rotation on a minor-league contract, but the 35-year-old left-hander said yesterday that he’ll use an opt-out clause rather than accept an assignment to Triple-A if he doesn’t win the job.
“There’s a lot of starters who have been hurt so there’s a lot of chances and I’ll probably go somewhere else,” Bedard told Roger Mooney of the Tampa Bay Tribune. “Every day it seems like a starter goes down. There’s a lot of opportunities out there if I’m not on the team.”
Bedard makes a very fair point about injuries to starters across baseball creating plenty of opportunities to latch on elsewhere late in spring training, although the odds of a team picking him up with just days remaining until Opening Day and handing him a spot on the big-league roster seem very slim.
Bedard is competing for the fifth starter role with Cesar Ramos and Jake Odorizzi, and manager Joe Maddon indicated that sending him to the bullpen isn’t being considered as an option. Last year, in 26 starts and six relief appearances for the Astros, he threw 151 innings with a 4.59 ERA and 138/75 K/BB ratio.
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.