Tigers sign Junichi Tazawa to a minor league deal

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The Detroit Tigers have long had bullpen problems. They mattered a lot more back when they were contenders than they matter now, but you still don’t want your bullpen to stink, so you try to do something about it if you can. Those contending Tigers never managed to do much to fix it, but the 2018 Tigers are trying: they just signed Junichi Tazawa.

Again: something that may have mattered more in 2013 or 2014 back when Tazawa was, you know, good, but it’s a no-cost move for the Tigers given that the Marlins are on the hook for what remains of the two-year $12 million deal he signed with Miami before the 2017 season.

As for the pitching, well, good luck. Tazawa allowed 20 earned runs in 20 innings, allowing 12.6 hits per nine innings in 22 appearances for Miami before being released. Figure he’ll bide his time in Toledo for a while, trying to show the Tigers he’s worth a callup.

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.