Braves bring back A.J. Pierzynski on one-year pact

AP Photo/John Amis
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As first reported by Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, the Braves have reached agreement on a one-year free agent contract with veteran catcher A.J. Pierzynski. It’s a $3 million deal, per Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.

Pierzynski was brought to Atlanta last winter to serve as a backup and mentor to youngster Christian Bethancourt, but the 38-year-old wound up grabbing the starting job when Bethancourt struggled and he finished with a respectable .300/.339/.430 batting line along 436 plate appearances.

Bethancourt still has a lot of work to do offensively, and this one-year deal with Pierzynski can take some of the pressure off. The 24-year-old defensive-minded backstop hit .200/.225/.290 in 160 plate appearances this past season for the cellar-dwelling Braves.

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.