Nick Swisher says no to "Sweet Caroline"

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Yes, it’s commerce, but ESPN’s commercials often stand out on their own.  The latest: Clay Buchholz, Nick Swisher and some dude sitting in a living room watching  a ballgame. Buchholz and the dude start singing “Sweet Caroline” and then try to throw it to Swisher, who responds with a “no way, dude.” You can see it here.  I’ll admit I chuckled. If they don’t run it into the ground and, instead, do lots of different ones including players of other teams I’ll consider it to be an enjoyable and inspired little campaign.

Still, it would have been better if Swisher had harangued the other two about just how stupid everyone singing “Sweet Caroline” is, followed by Buchholz going off on “Cotton Eyed Joe,” and the thing concluded with a knock-down, dragout fistfight that leaves both of them on the 60-day disabled list. Final shot: Tim Wakefield and Randy Winn laughing over their new full-time jobs.

Free agent slugger José Abreu signs 3-year deal with Astros

Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
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HOUSTON — Jose Abreu and the World Series champion Astros agreed to a three-year contract, adding another powerful bat to Houston’s lineup.

Abreu, the 2020 AL MVP, spent his first nine major league seasons with the Chicago White Sox. The first baseman became a free agent after batting .304 with 15 home runs, 75 RBIs and an .824 OPS this year.

With the Astros, he replaces Yuli Gurriel at first base in a batting order that also features All-Star sluggers Yordan Alvarez, Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman and Kyle Tucker.

Gurriel became a free agent after Houston defeated the Philadelphia Phillies this month for its second World Series championship.

The 35-year-old Abreu becomes the biggest free agent to switch teams so far this offseason. Born in Cuba, the three-time All-Star and 2014 AL Rookie of the Year is a .292 career hitter in the majors with 243 homers, 863 RBIs and an .860 OPS.

The Astros announced the signing. Abreu is scheduled to be introduced in a news conference at Minute Maid Park.