Ranking the top 25 general managers in history

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Two incredibly smart dudes — one of whom is an occasional HBT commenter — have a book coming out. The dudes: Mark Armour and Dan Levitt. The book: In Pursuit of Pennants, which examines how front offices have historically found innovative ways to build winning teams. A process that, contrary to popular belief, did not begin with Billy Beane and “Moneyball.”  The book comes out April 1. You can pre-order it here.

In anticipation of the rollout of that book, Mark and Dan have a blog about it all, and today they have begun counting down the top 25 general managers in baseball history. Today is 25: Andy MacPhail. Here is an explanation of the top-25 project. Here is the post on Mr. MacPhail.

We analyze everything else in baseball, but front office moves — especially historical ones — are often overlooked because front offices usually aren’t as colorful as managers and players and the data not as readily available. It’s great that Mark and Dan are embarking on this project and that, come April, we’ll be able to read a book dedicated to a subject that has never been dealt with in such depth in one single place.

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.