The sights and sounds of Camelback Ranch

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GLENDALE, Ariz. — Camelback Ranch, spring training home of the Dodgers and White Sox, is a seriously beautiful facility.

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The only drawback to it is that it faces south-southeast, so the crowd just bakes in the sun. Not sure why that is. I have to assume there was some reason for it, but sheesh, it’s brutal here. Especially if you’re a pasty mother like I am. The press box is no good place to watch a game, but it’s sort of necessary for me here.

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D*O*D*G*E*R*S

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Yasiel Puig and Erisbel Arruebarrena. As Tommy Lasorda famously saidMuy dificil. 

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Just before Don Mattingly came out for his daily meet-the-press, the assembled Los Angeles press was talking about how there wasn’t a whole heck of a lot to ask him. This Dodgers camp is pretty quiet. The Andre Ethier situation is a bit up in the air, but there are no real position battles. No injuries of note since Jansen. We’ve entered the daily grind portion of spring training. The excitement of the new is over but we’re still weeks away from hard decisions (if any) and games with any significance. There’s a lot of talk of golf and restaurants and stuff.

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A couple of legends just hanging around and talking shop. Tommy Lasorda has become something of a mascot. In public there’s a lot of Dodgers cheerleading and smiling and waving and stuff. But — not that I was eavesdropping or anything — he is still quite capable of delivering a blue streak of colorful language when telling a baseball story from, like, 40 years ago, and I’m happy about that.

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Of course, he can also be pretty horrifying in just the right setting. OMG, that’s nightmare fuel.

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.