Orioles sign veteran reliever Luis Ayala for $925,000

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UPDATE: Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports that Ayala gets a one-year, $925,000 deal with a team option for 2013.

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Last offseason Luis Ayala could manage only a minor-league deal with the Yankees, but after throwing 56 innings with a 2.09 ERA he had multiple suitors this offseason and Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com reports that he’s agreed to sign a big-league contract with the Orioles.

Prior to last season Ayala hadn’t posted an ERA below 5.00 since 2007 and he didn’t pitch in the majors at all in 2010, but the 33-year-old right-hander posted the highest strikeout rate of his career at 6.3 per nine innings and did a nice job keeping the ball on the ground for New York.

Based on his secondary numbers Ayala is a prime candidate to regress significantly in 2012, but even if his luck dries up he’s capable of being a useful middle reliever. His addition also seemingly makes it less likely that the Orioles will reacquire Koji Uehara from the Rangers.

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.