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Mets GM says manager Terry Collins “has done an outstanding job”

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It’s that time of year when managers of sub-.500 teams start getting public votes of confidence from their general managers and the Mets are 18-19, so general manager Sandy Alderson had some words of praise for Terry Collins yesterday.

Responding to what he referred to as “Twitter traffic” criticizing Collins, the GM told Mike Vorkunov of the Newark Star Ledger:

I think Terry has done an excellent job. I’ve said that over three-plus seasons.  Terry has done an outstanding job. First and foremost he keeps our players motivated. We talk a lot about the fact that it’s a long season and getting the most out of our players is probably the most important leadership that a manager faces.

We all disagree from time to time on field strategy. That happens. I’m sure it happens with fans, it happens with everyone. And it happens with me. We talk about it from time to time. But those are incidental–those are from time to time. Those are more about educating me and others and just talking about things. It happens. It’s human nature.

Collins is in his fourth season as Mets manager, compiling a 243-280 (.465) record. After winning 77, 74, and 74 games in his first three years on the job the Mets are on pace to win 79 games right now and, thanks to an extension signed during the offseason, Collins is under contract for 2015 as well. In other words, he’s not going anywhere.

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)
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.