John Schuerholz claims firing Frank Wren was three years in the making. OK.

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Tracy Ringolsby spoke with John Schuerholz about the Frank Wren firing. This is all kinds of special:

It wasn’t about wins or losses. The decision has been building for nearly three years, one Schuerholz had struggled with, because it’s not his style. Those who have known him since the early days of his professional baseball career — which dates back to him giving up a job as a junior high teacher in Baltimore to become an administrative assistant in the Orioles’ Minor League department at the age of 26 — have remarked about his cohesive management ways.

Building for three years? Then why did Shuerholz give Wren a contract extension last February? One possible answer is “well, he didn’t want a lame duck situation to develop.” My response to that is that if you’ve had more than two-plus years of misgivings about the guy at that point, maybe it’s OK to let him dangle for a bit.

My suspicion is that this article and most of what Schuerholz has said about the Wren firing is an exercise in spin. Of pretending that there’s a “Braves Way” and a “cohesive management style” so as to make this all seem like something that had to happen. That was inevitable and all part of a larger narrative in which Frank Wren led the Braves away from The True Path. When, in fact, it was really just a bunch of crappy things happening resulting in a disappointing season and resulting in some heads rolling.

There is no shame in that latter part. Schuerholz is a worthy Hall of Fame executive who doesn’t have to apologize to anyone for anything. Frank Wren screwed up some and the season went into the toilet. Yet, for whatever reason, there is this sense that the mess of the Braves 2014 season has to be treated as if it was something other than crap happening and, rather, part of a larger dramatic arc in which Schuerholz now can justly restore order or something.

Why this baseball team and its remaining executives are given such reverence and are being treated so differently than any other disappointing baseball team is a mystery to me.

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.