The Cubs are the fastest to 40 wins in 15 years


The Cubs won again last night. That puts their record at 40-16 and that’s pretty darn good. It’s good enough for a 10-game lead in what was supposed to be the toughest division in baseball. It also puts them on par with the 2001 Seattle Mariners for fastest time to reach 40 wins in baseball history.

That Mariners club ended up winning 116 wins. It’s hard to imagine any team doing that in this age of greater parity, but who the heck knows. The Cubs are certainly clicking and they’re doing it with what tends to be the hallmark of dominant teams: a healthy, stable rotation. All of the clubs’ starts have come from five dudes — Jake Arrieta, Jon Lester, John Lackey, Kyle Hendricks and Jason Hammel — and every one of them has a superior pitching line on the season. They also have the best offense in the National League, which yeah, kind of helps.

Anything can happen in baseball. The Cubs could reach the NLCS and get swept by an 86-win wild card team. Ask the 2001 Mariners what 116 regular season wins does for you come October. But at the moment they’re doing everything right and they’re running away with the Central.

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.