Jeremy Jeffress

Brewers sign Jeremy Jeffress to a minor league deal

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MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy reports that the Brewers have signed Jeremy Jeffress to a minor league deal. The Brewers originally drafted Jeffress in the first round of the 2006 draft, 16th overall. In December 2010, the Brewers sent him to the Royals along with Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar, and Jake Odorizzi to acquire Zack Greinke and Yuniesky Betancourt. In November 2012, the Blue Jays purchased Jeffress from the Royals. The Jays designated him for assignment last Sunday, and Jeffress elected to become a free agent rather than accept an assignment to the minor leagues.

Jeffress has shown that he still has the stuff that made him an exciting prospect, flashing a high-90’s fastball in his three relief appearances for the Jays in the first week of the season. However, in the brief amount of time Jeffress has been in the big leagues over the last five seasons, the right-hander has struggled with his command. Over 52 1/3 career innings, Jeffress has struck out 50 but has also walked 37 unintentionally.

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.