Yasiel Puig sent to the minors

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We knew this was coming yesterday, but now it is official: Yasiel Puig has been sent to the minors, per the press release of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Notably, the press release does not say which minor league club he is being sent to. Until we hear otherwise we’ll assume Triple-A Oklahoma City but, really, who knows?

As we have noted several times in recent weeks, Puig has had flashes of superstardom and still has the potential to be star, but it’s obvious that his development has stalled. Injuries are a part of that but not all of it and he has declined in each of the past three years. He’s hitting .260/.320/.386 with only seven homers on the year and is on pace for his worst season as a big leaguer. He has improved a tick since his most recent stint on the disabled list, but not enough for the Dodger brass. Yesterday’s acquisition of Josh Reddick, a better hitter and healthier player, was an acknowledgment that the Dodgers think they can win the NL West this year and that Puig in right field is not the best way to accomplish it.

The Dodgers tried to trade Puig yesterday, but if they had done so, it certainly would’ve been a case of selling low. Assuming Puig reports to Oklahoma City with a good attitude and a desire to play his way back to the bigs, he should be successful against minor league competition. If so, he’ll be a more attractive candidate for a trade after clearing waivers, which he likely will given that he is owed $17 million.

Free agent slugger José Abreu signs 3-year 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 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.