Astros sign slugger Jose Abreu to 3-year deal

Slugging first baseman José Abreu signed a three-year deal with the Houston Astros, it was announced on Monday.

Abreu, who turns 36 in January, earned the American League MVP award in 2020 and is second in baseball with 863 RBIs since his first season in the major leagues, 2014. He hit .304/.378/.446 this year with the Chicago White Sox, for whom he had played all nine of his big league seasons after defecting from Cuba.

Following a dreadful first five weeks, Abreu was one of the best hitters in baseball over the final three-quarters of the season, batting .335/.405/.479, though his 15 home runs over the entire year were a career low. He joins an Astros lineup with fellow Cuban Yordan Álvarez, Jose Altuve, Kyle Tucker, Alex Bregman and World Series MVP Jeremy Peña

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Abreu will replace Yuli Gurriel, a longtime rival in the Cuban National Series.

Abreu and Gurriel, along with Yoenis Cespedes, were widely regarded as the best players of their generation from Cuba, both high-contact hitters — though Abreu’s power was the separator.

The White Sox extended him for three years and $50 million after 2019, when he led the AL with 123 RBIs. Over his nine seasons, Abreu hit .292/.354/.506 with 243 home runs and an adjusted OPS 34% better than league average.

He is the second signing for this winter for the Astros, who reupped reliever Rafael Montero on a three-year, $34.5 million contract. The Astros’ projected payroll is currently in the $175 million range — they’ve exceeded $187 million each of the previous five seasons — and they still hope to sign ace Justin Verlander, who could command upward of $40 million a year.

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