Eric Chavez’s deal with the Yankees worth up to $5.5 million

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Eric Chavez agreed to a minor-league contract with the Yankees last week and today the deal (and its details) became official.

Chavez will get $1.5 million if he makes the team out of spring training and Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that he can opt out of the contract and become a free agent again if he’s not added to the roster by March 26.

If he does make the team, Chavez can then earn an additional $4 million in bonuses based on playing time and days spent on the roster, which is basically a way for the Yankees to avoid paying the oft-injured infielder if he’s on the disabled list.

Even if Chavez is healthy he won’t play much for the Yankees with Alex Rodriguez at third base and Mark Teixeira at first base, so while the contract is worth up to $5.5 million that’s sort of like saying a lottery ticket is worth up to $100 million. On the other hand, even the $1.5 million he’d get for making the Opening Day roster is a significant chunk of change for a guy who hasn’t been healthy and productive since 2007, so he’ll definitely have to prove he’s worth keeping prior to March 26.

Astros clinch AL West for third consecutive year

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For the third consecutive season, the Astros are AL West champions. The ‘stros clinched the division on Sunday afternoon with a convincing 13-5 win over the Angels. They were backed by three homers from leadoff man George Springer and individual homers from Alex Bregman and Aledmys Díaz.

Springer has the 22nd three-homer game in baseball this season. He’s the first Astro to hit three homers in a game since Yordan Álvarez last month, on August 10.

Justin Verlander lasted five innings in Sunday’s start, yielding two runs on six hits and a pair of walks with five strikeouts. The right-hander is arguably the frontrunner for the AL Cy Young Award, now 20-6 with a 2.53 ERA and a 288/42 K/BB ratio in 217 innings on the year. Verlander is 12 strikeouts shy of the 300-strikeout milestone and six strikeouts short of 3,000 for his career. If the Astros stay on schedule, Verlander would pitch the second-to-last game of the regular season against the Angels.

Sunday’s win marked No. 102 on the season for the Astros. The franchise record is 103 wins set last year. With six games remaining, it seems likely the Astros will set a new record.

The Astros and Yankees both won on Sunday, meaning the Astros remain a half-game ahead in the race for home field advantage. The No. 1 seed will also have the privilege of playing the Wild Card winner, which is down to the Athletics, Rays, and Indians.