Nationals purchase Steve Lombardozzi’s contract from the Atlantic League

Leon Halip/Getty Images

The Nationals have purchased the contract of utilityman Steve Lombardozzi from the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs of the Atlantic League, the Crabs announced on Monday. Lombardozzi will report to Triple-A Syracuse.

Lombardozzi, 27, was selected by the Nationals in the 19th round of the 2008 draft and would remain in the organization through 2013 before moving on to the Orioles and then the Pirates. He compiled a .263/.294/.336 triple-slash line over parts of five seasons in the majors.

In 180 plate appearances with the Crabs, Lombardozzi hit .367/.401/.428 with eight doubles, a triple, 20 RBI, 27 runs scored, and eight stolen bases. While he’s unlikely to maintain those numbers against tougher competition, Lombardozzi’s versatility — he can play every position aside from catcher and pitcher — will certainly help the Nationals.

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.