Nationals to hire Bud Black as manager

AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File
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James Wagner of the Washington Post has the scoop on Matt Williams’ replacement:

The Nationals intend to hire former San Diego Padres manager Bud Black to become the sixth manager in the team history, according to multiple people familiar with the situation. The Nationals have not announced Black’s expected hiring as Major League Baseball frowns upon teams making major announcements during the World Series.

The other finalist for the job was former Giants, Cubs, and Reds manager Dusty Baker. Ron Gardenhire, Phil Nevin, Alex Cora, Rick Renteria, and Randy Knorr were also in consideration early on, and there was some talk of Cal Ripken Jr. getting a look.

Black served as the manager of the Padres for eight-and-a-half seasons before getting canned this past June. He had a 649-713 record (.477) in San Diego and never reached the playoffs, but the 58-year-old former major league pitcher has always been considered a strong communicator and in-game strategist. This really feels like a great fit.

There was a strong emphasis on experience during the Nationals’ search for a new skipper after Matt Williams, a first-time manager, flopped so badly in his two-year stint.

Black inherits a Nats team with a massive budget and likely 2015 MVP Bryce Harper.

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.