Cubs shortstop Addison Russell is out for the NLCS

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Chicago will be without starting shortstop Addison Russell in the NLCS due to the hamstring injury he suffered running out a triple in the NLDS.

Cubs manager Joe Maddon indicated that he’d expect Russell to be available if they got to the World Series, but in the meantime Javier Baez figures to be the primary shortstop in his absence.

Baez hit a key three-run homer in Game 4 against the Cardinals and has exceptional raw power, smacking 36 homers in 174 total games at Triple-A. He also strikes out a ton and figures to be a defensive downgrade from the fantastic Russell, although how much of a downgrade is up for debate.

Starlin Castro, who was the Cubs’ starting shortstop from 2010 through the middle of this season when he was replaced by Russell, will not change positions again and will instead remain at second base.

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.