The last-place Rangers have started to sell off veterans, trading reliever Jason Frasor to the Royals for minor leaguer Spencer Patton.
Frasor has a lengthy track record as a solid setup man with a sub-3.70 ERA in five of the past six years, including a 3.34 ERA and 30/14 K/BB ratio in 30 innings this season at age 36. He’s owed around $750,000 for the remainder of this season as part of a cheap one-year deal.
Patton is a 26-year-old Triple-A reliever, so there isn’t a whole lot of upside to be had, but he does have 60 strikeouts in 47 innings this season and 303 strikeouts in 225 innings as a pro. He could potentially step into Frasor’s old role in the Rangers’ bullpen and give Texas some value in 2015 and beyond.
Expect the Rangers to shop left-hander Neal Cotts next, as he’s another impending free agent reliever who could help contenders down the stretch.
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.