Red Sox decline 2014 option on reliever Matt Thornton

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The World Series champion Red Sox were honored with a parade through Boston today, but they still found time to conduct some business, as Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald reports that they club declined their $6 million club option on left-handed reliever Matt Thornton for 2014.

An easy decision, Thornton will receive a $1 million buyout and hit free agency. The 37-year-old posted a 3.74 ERA and 30/15 K/BB ratio over 43 1/3 innings this season between the White Sox and Red Sox, making his fewest appearances (40) since his rookie season in 2007. He was left off Boston’s postseason roster.

Thornton was long considered one of the best left-handed set-up men in the game, but his velocity, strikeout percentage and swinging strike rate have declined in each of the last three seasons. The good news is that he has remained very effective against left-handed batters, so he should still have value as a specialist.

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.