Freddie Freeman leads NL fan balloting in first All-Star Game voting update

Freddie Freeman is sick with COVID-19
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These will come weekly between now and when the ALL-Star rosters are chosen, they will change, and, eventually, just about everyone deserving will find their way onto the All-Star roster either by election or appointment. But for now Freddie Freeman is leading the NL All-Star vote.

Not to take anything away from Freeman, who is having an outstanding season, but it’s worth noting that All-Star voting means a lot less now than it used to mean. Mostly because it’s all online and fans are not only allowed to stuff the ballot box but they’re actively encouraged to by the various clubs, with little or no effort made to stop people from voting hundreds of times if they want to. See, Major League Baseball likes you doing that because when you do it, you’re loading and reloading the ads for the company it partners up with to sponsor the voting page.

These days, leading the All-Star voting is just as much a function of a team’s social media operation and the number of home games during a voting period as it is worthiness. Which again, in the case if Freeman is fine because he’s having an amazing season so it’s a nice confluence. In the cases of his Braves teammates Ozzie Albies and Nick Markakis, well, yeah, there is likely some home team enthusiasm afoot too, even if they’re also having nice seasons for them. As the voting goes on, we’ll see a lot of patterns best explained by fan enthusiasm as opposed merit. Which, hey, fine. It’s the fans’ game and they can do what they want to. Just as long as we remember the most important lesson here: nothing matters. None of this matters at all.

AL update comes tomorrow. For now the voting looks like this:

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

Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

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.