Jim Leyland to manage the U.S. team in the 2017 World Baseball Classic

Associated Press

Jon Morosi of MLB.com reports that Jim Leyland will manage the U.S. team in the 2017 World Baseball Classic. His coaching staff will consist of his long-time associates and assistants: Jeff Jones, Marcel Lachemann, Lloyd McClendon, Willie Randolph, and Alan Trammell.

Leyland has been out of the managing game since the end of the 2013 season, but he has certainly kept a hand in the game. He scouts and does special assignments for the Tigers and can be seen at spring training and most of baseball’s major events. He’s definitely not checked out in retirement.

Leyland’s predecessors as U.S. team WBC managers are Buck Martinez (2006); Davey Johnson (2009); and Joe Torre (2013). The United States has never won the WBC. Japan won the first two finals, the Dominican Republic the most recent.

Free agent slugger José Abreu signs 3-year deal with Astros

Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

HOUSTON — Jose Abreu and the World Series champion Astros agreed to a three-year contract, adding another powerful bat to Houston’s lineup.

Abreu, the 2020 AL MVP, 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 is scheduled to be introduced in a news conference at Minute Maid Park.