The 14th greatest GM of all time has been a GM for a long, long time

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Mark Armour and Dan Levitt have written a book: In Pursuit of Pennants, which examines how front offices have historically found innovative ways to build winning teams. In support of that, they are counting down the top-25 GMs of all time over at their blog. Since it’s slow season, I’m going to continue linking to the countdown as it’s great stuff we rarely read about in the normal course.

Brian Sabean has experienced a pretty big change in the public perception department. He’s a scout-turned GM who, at least by some, was described as slow to adopt sabermetric principles and whose early success was attributed more to Barry Bonds and Jeff Kent than to any of his own brilliance.

But then Bonds and Kent went away and, after a brief fallow period, the Giants won three World Series in five years. A lot of that winning is attributable to the fact that Sabean is not, by damn sight, as one-dimensional an executive as his detractors (including this writer) once mistakenly claimed. He has an analytics department. He has drafted well. He has improvised on the fly. He has made good trades. Yes, he has made some bad trades and some really bad free agent signings, but any GM who has been on the job for 18 years is going to have those.

The thing about Sabean: he appears to be open to just about anything and seems to be less beholden to philosophical stances and prejudices that color the thinking of even the best GMs. If he thinks it’ll help him win games, he’ll do it. And the Giants have won a lot of games during his tenure. Including 12 games in three World Series that any GM in the game would anything to have won.

Go read Mark and Dan’s writeup of Brian Sabean here.

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.