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Astros, George Springer agree to a two-year, $24 million deal

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Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the Astros and George Springer have agreed to a two-year, $24 million deal.

The pact buys out this year and next year’s arbitration years for Springer. He’ll have one more year of arbitration eligibility in 2020 before becoming a free agent after that season. Springer was a Super Two, so he was slated to go through arbitration four times. Last year was his first go-around. He ended up settling for $3.9 million before his hearing, so the $12 million average annual salary he’ll make this year and next is a nice raise. For the record, he had requested $10.5 million for this season and the Astros had countered at $8.5 million. Have to figure that, in addition to simply wanting to lock up Springer for the next two seasons, Houston didn’t like its chances in this year’s hearing.

Springer, 28, hit .283/.367/.522 with 34 homers and 85 RBI in 2017. He was also the World Series MVP, putting up a 1.471 OPS with five homers among his 11 hits in the Fall Classic.

Rays acquire C.J. Cron from Angels

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The Rays have acquired first baseman C.J. Cron from the Angels for a player to be named later, the teams announced Saturday. In a corresponding move, the Rays cleared a roster spot for Cron by designating outfielder Corey Dickerson for assignment.

Cron wasn’t expected to factor prominently in the Angels’ plans for 2018, especially given the recent addition of pitcher/hitter Shohei Ohtani and the projected Luis Valbuena/Albert Pujols combo at first base. The 28-year-old infielder wasn’t overly impressive during his fourth season in Anaheim, either, slashing .248/.305/.437 with 16 home runs and 0.5 fWAR through 373 plate appearances in 2017. He’ll give the Rays a platoon option with fellow first baseman Brad Miller, though neither Cron nor Miller have looked particularly adept against left-handed pitching lately.

Dickerson, meanwhile, is coming off of a banner season with the Rays. The 29-year-old outfielder enjoyed his first All-Star nomination in 2017, rounding out the year with a .282/.325/.490 batting line and career-best 27 home runs and 2.6 fWAR in 629 PA. Some have already speculated that a trade is in the works; barring that, it’s a head-scratching move to make considering his clear offensive value to the team.