Rays designate Grant Balfour for assignment

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Per the Rays on Twitter, the club has designated reliever Grant Balfour for assignment. To take Balfour’s spot on the 25-man roster, the Rays have promoted reliever Brandon Gomes from Triple-A Durham.

Balfour hadn’t been scored upon in 3 2/3 innings coming into Saturday night’s game against the Yankees. That, however, changed rather abruptly. The seventh inning began with starter Jake Odorizzi allowing a lead-off single. Manager Kevin Cash immediately replaced Odorizzi with C.J. Riefenhauser, but the Yankees continued to rally, scoring twice on two singles, a double, and a sacrifice fly.

Balfour entered with runners on first and second and one out. He walked Alex Rodriguez to load the bases, induced a sacrifice fly from Mark Teixeira, hit Brian McCann to re-load the bases, allowed a grand slam to Chris Young, walked Chase Headley, uncorked a wild pitch, walked Stephen Drew, and finally got Gregorio Petit to foul out to end the inning. The Yankees led 9-0, the score by which they would eventually win. Balfour’s line: 0.2 IP, 1 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 0 K, 1 HR. His ERA ballooned to 6.23.

The 37-year-old Balfour is earning a $7 million salary from the Rays. Considering he struggled immensely last season and his velocity has fallen from 93.4 MPH on average in 2013 to 91.6 last season and 89.7 MPH this season, Balfour may not draw much interest from other teams.

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.