Cubs place catcher Geovany Soto on DL with groin injury

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Geovany Soto left last night’s game with a strained groin and the Cubs have placed him on the disabled list, according to Carrie Muskat of MLB.com.

Soto was off to a slow start before the injury, hitting just .226 with three homers and a .709 OPS through 31 games, but that’s still above-average production for a catcher and his .821 career OPS ranks sixth among all active players with at least 1,000 plate appearances at the position behind only Joe Mauer, Jorge Posada, Brian McCann, Victor Martinez, and Mike Napoli.

And losing Soto is doubly bad for the Cubs because his primary replacement, Koyie Hill, is a career .213 hitter with a .578 OPS in 262 games. Welington Castillo will be called up from Triple-A to take Soto’s roster spot and serve as Hill’s backup, although the 23-year-old has more power potential.

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.