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The Astros have agreed to terms with José Abreu on a three-year contract.

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The Astros have agreed to terms with José Abreu on a three-year contract.

The Astros have agreed to terms with José Abreu on a three-year contract.

The Astros are close to signing free agency first baseman José Abreu. It will be a three-year agreement at $19.5 million per season, for a total of $58.5 million. The transaction is subject to a physical inspection.

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Abreu, 36 in January, has spent his whole major league career with the White Sox, but as the season came to a close, it appeared like they were ready to let him move jerseys in 2023. With many other first base/DH candidates on the roster, such as Andrew Vaughn and Eloy Jimenez, the thinking was that they would let Abreu walk and focus their resources elsewhere, which appears to have happened.

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Despite the fact that the Sox were apparently willing to let him go, he has continued to produce excellent results at the plate. In 2022, he appears to have given up some power for a more contact-oriented approach, but to great effect. His 15 home runs were the fewest of his career, but so was his strikeout rate of 16.2%. As a result, his batting line of.304/.378/.446 was 37% higher than the league average, as evidenced by his 137 wRC+.

That was Abreu’s eighth MLB season, and he had a wRC+ of 114 or above in each of them. He reached 164 in 2020, earning American League Most Valuable Player in that truncated season. Despite a drop in power this year, he’s been one of the league’s greatest hitters for the previous decade or so. He has a 139 wRC+ for his career since his debut in 2014, with just 11 batters producing a higher figure in that era. Given his generally solid at-bat performance but relatively older age, MLBTR predicted a two-year contract worth $40MM, or $20MM per season. He was ineligible to earn a qualifying offer since he had already received one.

The Astros were fantastic in 2022, winning 106 games during the regular season and storming through the playoffs to capture their second World Series. Yuli Gurriel had a terrible year at the plate, making first base one of the few vulnerable places on the squad. He batted.319/.383/.462 in 2021, but only.242/.288/.360 this year. Trey Mancini was acquired at the trade deadline to try to bolster the position, but he only hit.176/.258/.364 after the deal. Both players were released at the end of the season, creating a need for Abreu to fill. This agreement might be the end of Gurriel’s seven-year stay in Houston, unless he’s ready to return in a limited position as a pinch hitter and occasional designated hitter.

The Astros recently parted ways with general manager James Click, reportedly due to conflicts with owner Jim Crane. Crane appears to be in no hurry to replace Click, taking over baseball decisions and appearing willing to do so until the new year. Despite the unique front office position, they’ve remained busy, re-signing reliever Rafael Montero and now signing Abreu to three-year contracts.

According to Roster Resource, the Astros now have a 2023 payroll of roughly $163MM and a competitive balance tax number of around $178MM. According to Cot’s Baseball Contracts, their Opening Day salary was $175MM last year and $188MM in 2021. Assuming Abreu’s contract is worth around $20MM per season, their payroll would rise beyond $180MM, and their CBT would approach $200MM. Though they’re approaching historical spending highs, it seems to reason that they can push it a little farther this winter on the heels of a Championship run and all the extra income that comes with it. In terms of the CBT, the lowest barrier for 2023 will be $233MM, giving them with plenty of room even if they avoid going over.

For the White Sox, this signifies the end of an almost ten-year period. Vaughn is a natural first baseman who tried unsuccessfully to transition to the outfield. In 2022, he produced -16 Outs Above Average on the grass, the lowest mark of any outfielder in the league. His -10.5 Ultimate Zone Rating was also the season’s lowest for an MLB outfielder, and his -14 Defensive Runs Saved was among the bottom five. He did, however, hit.273/.323/.433, creating a wRC+ of 115 at the age of 24. The Sox will undoubtedly hope that he can produce even better results as he continues to adjust to MLB pitching, especially since he won’t have to worry about his outfield defense in the future. Nonetheless, the team will try to improve on an 81-81 season despite losing their greatest hitter, which will be a difficult assignment.

The Astros’ lineup was already loaded with stars like Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Yordan Alvarez, and Kyle Tucker. They’ve now recruited one of the league’s finest hitters as they prepare to defend their World Series championship next year.

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She is the editor of River C Sports. Previously, she was editor-in-chief at other news sites. July has also in her career been an editor for several websites and has more than 5 years of experience in the industry.

MLB

Interest from other teams could make Chris Sale wear another shirt in 2023

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Interest from other teams could make Chris Sale wear another shirt in 2023

Interest from other teams could make Chris Sale wear another shirt in 2023

Although no more serious negotiations have begun, the Boston Red Sox have noted the interest of other franchises in pitcher Chris Sale and have not ruled out involving him in a possible trade.

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Jon Heyman of the New York Post reported that while the Red Stockings are not thinking of trading any of their starters, they may at least listen and consider offers for the members of the rotation, due to many options in the sector.

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However, if the team decides that Ace’s time in Boston is over, Sale can veto his fate and choose where he will go, since the no-trade clause in his contract gives him this possibility.

Should any team decide to take over the pitcher’s contract this offseason, they will secure his services for at least two more years, as Chris Sale becomes a free agent only in 2025.

Known for his excellent left-handedness, the athlete has a considerable history of physical problems. In addition to missing the entire already shortened 2020 season as a result of recovery from Tommy John surgery, Sale also took the field nine times the following year in uneven performances.

This season did not start in good shape for Sale either, who missed the start due to a rib injury during Spring Training. When he was healthy, he played only twice and fractured his little finger during an away game against the New York Yankees in July in his last performance. In addition, he broke his wrist riding a bicycle.

“You can’t make that up, right?” said Chaim Bloom, head of baseball operations for the Sox Kings. “We need to send some people after whoever is with Chris Sale’s voodoo doll and get it back.”

Sale was among the top six nominees for the Cy Young award between 2012 and 2018, receiving seven All-Star Game nominations, one World Series win, recording the record for unblemished innings with three (tied with Sandy Koufax and Max Scherzer) and owns a 5.33 strikeouts-to-walk average, the best mark in league history.

Taking into account his wins, but also the medical issue, Chris Sale will have to prove himself again as an elite pitcher who has made it through the injuries. If so, he is a powerful weapon on the mound, regardless of the uniform he wears.

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Pirates sign veteran pitcher Rich Hill to a one-year deal

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Pirates sign veteran pitcher Rich Hill to a one-year deal

Pirates sign veteran pitcher Rich Hill to a one-year deal

The Pittsburgh Pirates and left-handed pitcher Rich Hill finalized terms on a one-year, $8 million contract on Tuesday (27), reported Jeff Passan of ESPN USA.

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Hill, 42, will be entering his 19th season in the MLB. He accumulated a 4.27 ERA with 109 strikeouts in 124.1 innings for the Boston Red Sox in 2022. Including, his last stint in Boston was his fourth with the team.

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Since 2015, when the lefty had a “resurgence” period in his career, he has maintained an average of 10.7 strikeouts per nine innings, along with a good 2.91 ERA (140 ERA+) and a 1.06 WHIP in 87 total games.

The veteran pitcher has also played for the Chicago Cubs, Baltimore Orioles, Cleveland Guardians, Los Angeles Angels, New York Yankees, Oakland Athletics, Los Angeles Dodgers, Minnesota Twins, Tampa Bay Rays, and New York Mets during his long career.

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The Mariners acquire Wong from the Brewers in exchange for Winker and Toro.

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The Mariners acquire Wong from the Brewers in exchange for Winker and Toro.

The Mariners acquire Wong from the Brewers in exchange for Winker and Toro.

The Mariners acquired Kolten Wong from the Brewers on Friday in exchange for outfielder Jesse Winker and infielder Abraham Toro, filling a much-needed left-handed spot in their lineup.

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DETAILS OF THE TRADE

  • 2B for the Mariners Kolten Wong
  • Brewers are awarded: LF/DH INF Jesse Winker Toro, Abraham.

The Mariners will also receive $1.75 million to help offset Wong’s $10 million salary in 2023, when he will be a free agent. Winker is due $8.25 million in his final year before free agency, effectively a money and player swap for Seattle, while Toro is in his first year of arbitration as a Super Two player and won’t be a free agent until until 2026.

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Wong has been a Mariners goal since the team came short of signing him as a free agency ahead of the 2021 season, when Seattle offered a two-year deal but Milwaukee offered a third-year club option, which was the difference at the time, according to sources. The Mariners had inquired about Wong’s availability at the Trade Deadline the previous two seasons, but the competing Brewers were uninterested in moving him.

However, with numerous arbitration-eligible players set to receive raises this offseason, many in the business anticipated that the team might be willing to move some of its higher-priced players for payroll relief, prospect capital, and/or depth. Toro, a switch-hitting infielder with glimpses of good performance, provides longevity for the Brewers’ squad, while Winker, coming off a terribly disappointing season, returns to a division where he flourished with the Reds while facing the motivation of a contract year with the Brewers.

The Brewers activated Wong’s option last month instead of paying him a $2 million buyout, opening the door for him to be traded, which sparked interest from clubs other than Seattle, according to sources.

Wong, 32, is coming off what was maybe his greatest season at the plate, hitting.251/.339/.430 (.769 OPS) with a career-high 15 homers, 24 doubles, four triples, 47 RBIs, and 116 wRC+ (league average is 100) while collecting 2.5 wins above replacement, according to FanGraphs.

Some of this was by purpose, with a more deliberate attempt to raise the ball higher. His line-drive and fly-ball rates were the best in his career the last two years (49.3% combined), but his ground-ball percentage was the lowest (43.7% for ’21-22). It’s possible that his OPS+ in each of the last two seasons – 110 in ’21 and 118 in ’22 – was the greatest of his career.

Wong is a two-time Gold Glove Award winner who is coming off a defensively bad year in which he was worth minus-9 outs above average (placing in the third percentile, per Statcast) and minus-1 defensive runs saved.

Some of that could be attributed to lower-body injuries he battled throughout the year, such as a right calf strain from a hit-by-pitch in June, which led to a stint on the injured list and persisted despite treatment and footwear experimentation. A full offseason of rest and a Spring Training with infield coaching guru Perry Hill, who has helped J.P. Crawford and Ty France among others, should be beneficial.

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