Astros president of business operations Reid Ryan said that the Astros plan on traveling to the White House in Washington, to celebrate their World Series championship. Ryan said: “This is a tradition and an honor. For many people, this might be their only time to ever be invited to the White House. And as the representatives of baseball and the World Series champs, when the White House calls and invites you to come up, it’s something that as an organization we felt both a responsibility and an obligation to be part of”. Ryan added that while the Astros haven’t formally set a date for their trip to the nation’s capital, they’re looking into doing the celebration during spring training. The Astros don’t play the Washington Nationals in interleague play in 2018, and their only series in Baltimore with the Orioles starts Sept. 27, which is their final series of the regular season. World Series MVP George Springer told reporters in November he’d be open to traveling to the White House: “That’s the most historic place in our country, it stands for a lot, it means a lot to a lot of people. If the team goes I’m going. I’m not going to say no. I understand the impact of it. … I understand the stuff that’s been happening. Yes there are things that have to change but there are always things that have to change. There isn’t anything that is ever going to be perfect. If the team goes I’ll go”. Beginning with Ronald Reagan’s presidency, it has become customary for the major sports champions in the United States to make a pilgrimage to Washington, D.C. Since President Donald Trump assumed office, however, the tradition has lost steam.
New details have come out as to why the Padres were unwilling to do a deal for Cubs second baseman Javier Baez. Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that a reason why San Diego “balked at the asking price“ for Baez was because Chicago “would have wanted more besides“ Luis Perdomo or Dinelson Lamet, who are young, controllable starting pitchers. One possible player that the Cubs could have wanted in addition to Perdomo or Lamet was Brad Hand, the Padres’ best reliever and one of the top relievers in the game who Lin says “likely was discussed.” This asking price by the Cubs seems reasonable because Baez is one of the best young second baseman in the game, both offensively and defensively. In 2017, Baez produced a .273/.317/.480 slash line and a 2.9 WAR with 23 home runs and 75 RBI in 508 plate appearances. Drafted ninth overall by the Cubs in the 2011 MLB Draft, he has been hitting .255 with 47 homers and 158 RBI in his four seasons in the big leagues. He also helped the Cubs during their journey to a World Series crown in 2016, as he was named the MVP of the NLCS after slashing .318/.333/.500 with four doubles and five RBI. Baez is also versatile, as he can play anywhere in the infield. He has a .968 fielding percentage for his career.
The Pittsburgh Pirates have always languished in the basement of MLB payrolls. With Andrew McCutchen entering the last year of his contract, it seems like they have little interest in signing a 32-year-old to another multi-year deal. Now, they’re looking to flip him before the season in the hopes of getting some assets in return. And it’s not just the Giants they’re talking to. While it’s currently not looking like it will happen just yet, the Mets could use another bat to add to their lineup without a doubt. They scored 735 runs last year, placing them at a very uninspiring 19th in the MLB and 9th in the NL. McCutchen would provide them with power and the ability to get on base. Last season, he smacked 28 home runs and posted an OBP of .363. And the Mets, who also operate in quite lame fashion, are far more likely to add Cutch on a one-year deal. McCutchen is an attractive talent and a number of teams have reached out to the Pirates to inquire about acquiring him for the 2018 season.
Kansas City, Los Angeles, and Chicago are on the verge of a three-teamer that would send veteran bullpen ace Joakim Soria to the White Sox and crafty, underrated lefty Scott Alexander to the Dodgers, effectively replacing free agent Tony Watson. Alexander, someone you likely didn’t notice in 2017 unless you were a Royals devotee, put up an excellent year, albeit without over a strikeout per inning. All told, the 28-year-old put up a 2.48 ERA in 69 innings, and will be an excellent fit for a Los Angeles team that’s lost some bullpen horses already this offseason.
Soria, a much older option, had a bit of a comeback year, too, sneaking his ERA back under 4.00 at 3.70 and whiffing 64 in 56 innings pitched. We’re thirsting for more. As are the Royals, but they’re hoping it’s a Hosmer-related influx of talent, instead of more in an ever-growing series of departures.