Freddy Garcia Getty

Freddy Garcia close to signing with a team in Asia

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I was sorta surprised when the Braves cut Freddy Garcia, seeing as though they were down a couple of arms and Garcia had pitched pretty competently this spring. Then Aaron Harang took his place and has been pretty fantastic so far, so what the hell do I know?

And that question is doubly apt given that, apparently, the rest of Major League Baseball is giving a miss to Garcia. Chris Cotillo reports:

Veteran right-hander Freddy Garcia is close to signing with an undisclosed team in Asia, according to major league sources. It is currently unclear which country the 37-year old will be heading to, but it appears as though he will be leaving the U.S. after being released by the Braves at the end of spring training.

Garcia said that he wanted to start, so this may be the only opportunity he has to start someplace. Or the money may be great.

Or, though Garcia said after his release that he was eager to spend some time with his wife and newborn baby, maybe he realized a month later what all of us parents figured out the hard way: being around newborns is a special circle of hell and if someone gave us the opportunity to leave the continent for the few months between their birth and the time they’re sleeping through the night, well, we’d all take it too.

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.