It’s not quite a promotion to the big leagues, but the Cubs have moved up stud third base prospect Kris Bryant from Double-A to Triple-A after he hit .355 with 22 homers, 20 doubles, and a 1.160 OPS in 68 first-half games.
As recently as a couple weeks ago Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer indicated that the team planned to keep Bryant at Double-A for most and perhaps even all of this season despite his destruction of Southern League pitchers, but those plans have changed. Fittingly, his final act at Double-A was winning the Home Run Derby at the All-Star game Tuesday night.
Bryant was the No. 2 overall pick in last year’s draft after putting up incredible power numbers at the University of San Diego and through 104 professional games he’s hit .348 with 31 homers, 34 doubles, and a 1.132 OPS. If he continues to dominate at Triple-A it’ll be hard for the Cubs to avoid calling the 22-year-old up by September at the latest.
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.