LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 04:  Manny Ramirez #99 of the Los Angeles Dodgers looks on before the start of the game against the Atlanta Braves at Dodger Stadium on June 4, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
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Manny Ramirez signs with the Kochi Fighting Dogs in Japan

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The Kochi Fighting Dogs of the Shikoku Island League Plus in Japan announced on Monday that the club signed former major leaguer Manny Ramirez. The SILP is independent baseball and not associated with Nippon Professional Baseball.

Ramirez, 44, hasn’t played in the majors since 2011 and hasn’t played professional baseball since 2014. In 2014, Ramirez served as a player-coach for the Cubs at Triple-A Iowa. The next year, he served as a batting consultant for the major league club and Iowa.

Ramirez is currently on the Hall of Fame ballot for the first time. Of the 178 ballots counted thus far by Ryan Thibodaux, Ramirez got a vote on only 46 of them so he’ll have to wait until 2018 at the earliest for enshrinement.

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.

Royals sign Danny Duffy to a five-year, $65 million contract extension

KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 02:  Starting pitcher Danny Duffy #41 of the Kansas City Royals pitches during the game against the Detroit Tigers at Kauffman Stadium on September 2, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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The Kansas City Royals have signed starter Danny Duffy to a five-year, $65 million contract extension.

Duffy was arbitration eligible this offseason and would’ve been a free agent next winter if he hadn’t signed the deal. Given his stuff he might’ve made a mint as a free agent, but he’s also been inconsistent at times and any pitcher is an injury away from losing a payday, making this a nice, lucrative bet for the lefty.

Duffy, 28, posted a 3.51 ERA and a 188/42 K/BB ratio across 179.2 innings in 2016.