Lance McCullers hurt, but his replacement comes up big

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Some bad news for the Astros last night as Lance McCullers had to leave the game against Toronto last night in the fifth inning. The reason: elbow discomfort. The Astros will evaluate him more today. Given that he has been the most solid starter the Astros have had all year, this could be scary.

The good news, though? The guy who came on to replace McCullers had a really nice night. That guy was Joe Musgrove, making his major league debut. All he did was deal, tossing four and a third innings of one-hit ball, allowing no runs and striking out eight dudes. Musgrove, by the way, was formerly a Jays farmhand, having been drafted by Toronto in the first round in 2011. He was sent to Houston in the ten-player trade that sent Brandon Lyon, J.A. Happ and David Carpenter to the Jays in 2012.

At the time I wrote this:

I don’t know all of those Blue Jays minor leaguers, but I can’t imagine Lyon, Happ and Carpenter rate top prospects or anything.

We’ll sift through this a bit, but my instincts tell me that this is sound and fury signifying nothing more than a lot of flotsam and jetsam shuffling.

Hey, it was four years ago. I didn’t even remember saying that until Proudly Canadian reminded me of it in the comments today. How he remembered that I have no idea. Either way, for Houston’s sake, they should be happy I was wrong. Hopefully McCullers is OK. If he’s not, hopefully Musgrove can continue to be awesome. Because he may be a good candidate to replace him.

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

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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.