Mike Scioscia denies reports that he’ll step down after 2018 season

Mike Scioscia
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Update: Scioscia said Sunday that reports of him stepping away from his position after 2018 were “poppycock,” per Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register.

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that Angels manager Mike Scioscia is expected to step down from his position after the 2018 season. The club has not officially confirmed the decision, however, and nothing appears to be finalized just yet.

Nothing has changed with regard to Scioscia’s contract with the team, which was already set to expire after the season. It’s important to note that his expected decision isn’t coming from any dissatisfaction on the Angels’ part, either — Rosenthal clarifies that there’s no pressure on the 59-year-old skipper to step down.

Rather, it seems to be the natural conclusion of an impressive 19-year managerial track in the majors, one that gives Scioscia the sixth-longest tenure (with a single team) of any MLB manager behind Connie Mack, John McGraw, Walter Alston, Bobby Cox and Tommy Lasorda. He’s checked off every box worth filling, from a World Series championship in 2002 to the winningest season in franchise history (100-62 in 2008) to the oversight of some of the best and brightest talents in the game and two American League Manager of the Year Awards (2002, 2009) to boot.

Still, there are plenty of reasons Scioscia might be ready to hang up his cap by the end of 2018. The veteran skipper hasn’t seen a winning season since 2015 nor a playoff run since 2014, and the current roster isn’t exactly positioned for a postseason run as they sit 15.5 games back of the division-leading Astros. Through Saturday, the team is two wins shy of .500 with a 55-57 record in 2018, bringing Scioscia’s running total to 1,625 career wins and 1,403 losses. There’s no word yet if he plans on seeking another role within the Angels’ organization or a managerial role with a different team, or if he simply intends to enter a well-deserved retirement.

Free agent slugger José Abreu signs 3-year, $58.5M 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, $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.