Mark Melancon has done a respectable job since replacing Jason Grilli as Pittsburgh’s closer, but Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review writes that the Pirates could consider making a trade for Padres closer Huston Street.
It’s unclear whether the two teams have actually had trade talks, but Biertempfel writes that the Pirates have focused most of their attention on pitchers, both for the rotation and the bullpen. The Padres figure to be one of a handful of sellers leading up to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, so Street is a logical target for any team on the lookout for a late-inning arm. The 30-year-old owns a fantastic 1.09 ERA and 34/7 K/BB ratio over 33 innings this season. He’s making $7 million this season while his contract includes a $7 million option for 2015, so the asking price figures to be pretty steep.
Ernesto Frieri has struggled since coming over from the Angels for Grilli, so the potential addition of Street would allow Melancon to move back into a set-up role. Jonathan Papelbon, Joaquin Benoit, Chad Qualls, and Joakim Soria are among the other late-inning arms who could be moved this month.
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.