Braves pull Jim Johnson back from waivers; Jeff Francoeur clears waivers

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Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball reports that reliever Jim Johnson was claimed on waivers by an unknown team, but the Braves couldn’t work out a trade and pulled him back as a result. Heyman also notes that outfielder Jeff Francoeur cleared waivers.

Johnson, 33, has compiled a 3.61 ERA and a 41/16 K/BB ratio in 42 1/3 innings. Because he was pulled back from waivers, the Braves are unable to place him back on waivers. The Braves can make a handful of other roster maneuvers or let him walk into free agency after the season.

Francoeur, 32, has put up a .247/.287/.387 triple-slash line with seven home runs and 31 RBI in 261 plate appearances this season. As he cleared waivers, that means the Braves can negotiate a trade with any interested team. Like Johnson, Francoeur will become a free agent after the season.

Free agent slugger José Abreu signs 3-year, $58.5M deal with Astros

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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.