Obama names Fernando Valenzuela “Presidential Ambassador for Citizenship and Naturalization”

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Leave it to Obama to give an eyeball-breathing, screwball-loving LEFTY a job! Liberal bias, man. Liberal bias! He must be overcome by some insidious, euphoria-inducing disease like . . . Fernandomania!

President Obama launched the “Stand Stronger” Citizenship Awareness Campaign and appointed the Dodger broadcaster and legendary lefty a Presidential Ambassador for Citizenship and Naturalization. In this role, Valenzuela will work with the White House and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in promoting the rights, responsibilities and opportunities of citizenship among eligible lawful permanent residents and help the “Stand Stronger” Campaign break down the barriers for eligible immigrants and refugees to become U.S. citizens.

Valenzuela just became a U.S. citizen himself, by the way. He signed with the Dodgers in July of 1979 and has lived in the United States ever since, spending the past 36 years as a ballplayer and a Dodgers broadcaster.

And if you’re a guy of a certain age — say, 42 — he was one of the first big time pitchers who you thought of as being one of YOUR guys. Tom Seaver and Jim Palmer and all of those huge names of the 60s and 70 were all big deals to us, of course, but they all started pitching before we were born. They were our dad’s or older brothers’ pitchers. For me, Fernando was the first big all-star type starter who seemed 100% modern to me when he made his splash, probably because I vividly remember him making his splash. Everything before him belonged to people older than me. Everything after him was mine.

Congrats, Fernando.

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.