What’s on Tap: Previewing Friday’s Action

McCullers
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The baseball weekend already began today with an afternoon tilt at Wrigley Field. The Cubs lead the Pirates late. The Cubs lead everyone.

Otherwise, we have the return of Lance McCullers, who  the Astros definitely need to be like the Lance McCullers of 2015 given the state of their pitching. And given that the Red Sox lineup he’s facing tonight is en fuego. We have the worst team in baseball facing off on the road against the defending World Series champs. This being baseball, however, Atlanta could take two of three and all we’d really be able to do is to shrug and go “welp, baseball.” There are two knuckleballers in action tonight, which doesn’t happen too often these days. A pity they aren’t facing one another.

Here are the matchups and times. Have a good weekend, y’all.

Chicago White Sox (Chirs Sale) @ New York Yankees (Luis Severino), 7:05 PM EDT, Yankee Stadium

Cincinnati Reds (Brandon Finnegan) @ Philadelphia Phillies (Jeremy Hellickson), 7:05 PM EDT, Citizens Bank Park

Detroit Tigers (Justin Verlander) @ Baltimore Orioles (Chris Tillman), 7:05 PM EDT, Oriole Park at Camden Yards

Miami Marlins (Tom Koehler) @ Washington Nationals (Gio Gonzalez), 7:05 PM EDT, Nationals Park

Houston Astros (Lance McCullers) @ Boston Red Sox (Steven Wright), 7:10 PM EDT, Fenway Park

Minnesota Twins (Ricky Nolasco) @ Cleveland Indians (Josh Tomlin), 7:10 PM EDT, Progressive Field

Oakland Athletics (Rich Hill) @ Tampa Bay Rays (Jake Odorizzi), 7:10 PM EDT, Tropicana Field

Toronto Blue Jays (R.A. Dickey) @ Texas Rangers (Martin Perez), 8:05 PM EDT, Globe Life Park in Arlington

San Diego Padres (Christian Frederich) @ Milwaukee Brewers (Junior Guerra), 8:10 PM EDT, Miller Park

Atlanta Braves (Julio Teheran) @ Kansas City Royals (Edinson Volquez), 8:15 PM EDT, Kauffman Stadium

New York Mets (Matt Harvey) @ Colorado Rockies (Jon Gray), 8:40 PM EDT, Coors Field

San Francisco Giants (Jeff Samardzija) @ Arizona Diamondbacks (Shelby Miller), 9:40 PM EDT, Chase Field

Los Angeles Angels (Nick Tropeano) @ Seattle Mariners (Nathan Karns), 10:10 PM EDT, Safeco Field

St. Louis Cardinals (Michael Wacha) @ Los Angeles Dodgers (Ross Stripling), 10:10 PM EDT, Dodger Stadium

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.