Matt Stairs notches career pinch hit number 100

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I was paying attention to Matt Stairs more closely to see when he’d get his first hit at all this season. Little did I know — until I read Adam Kilgore’s story in this morning’s Washington Post anyway — that the hit he had in last night’s game was his 100th career pinch hit.

Strange career for a neat guy.  There aren’t many non-head cases who have played for a bunch of different teams, but Stairs is decidedly not that and has played for 13.  A lot of that has to do with his pinch-hitting rep — those guys don’t last on the same team for a very long time — but I kind of suspect that a lot of guys could be pinch hitters. With Stairs I’m sure it has a lot to do with his willingness to take on the role with little fuss and the fact that he’s really likable.  Need a pinch hitter this year? OK, call Stairs.

Free agent slugger José Abreu signs 3-year, $58.5M 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, $58.5 million contract, adding another powerful bat to Houston’s lineup.

Abreu, the 2020 AL MVP, gets $19.5 million in each of the next three seasons.

He 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 was scheduled to be introduced in a news conference at Minute Maid Park.

He would get a $200,000 for winning an MVP award, $175,000 for finishing second in the voting, $150,000 for third, $125,000 for fourth and $100,000 for fifth. Abreu also would get $100,000 for earning World Series MVP and $75,000 for League Championship Series MVP, $75,000 for making the All-Star team and $75,000 for winning a Gold Glove or a Silver Slugger.

Abreu gets a hotel suite on road trips and the right to buy a luxury suite for all Astros home games.