Barry Bonds takes his place in left field during his number-retirement ceremony

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Barry Bonds had his number 25 retired by the San Francisco Giants on Saturday. It was quite a ceremony. Among the highlights:

  • Hall of Famer Willie Mays — who, as you probably know, is Bonds’ godfather — used his speech to stump for Bonds being inducted into the Hall of Fame. Mays said, “Give somebody honor that deserves to be in the Hall of Fame . . . I want him to have that honor. On behalf of all of the people in San Francisco and the country, vote this guy in.” Based on the comments that usually come up regarding Bonds on this website, I presume your mileage varies on that.
  • It was a pretty star-studded affair beyond just Bonds and Mays. Orlando Cepeda, Juan Marichal, Willie McCovey and Gaylord Perry were there too. His former managers Jim Leyland and Dusty Baker were there too. I assume Jim was a bit more cordial to Bonds on Saturday than he was on certain occasions in the past (NSFW language!). So was former Giants outfielder Fred Lewis. For real. The Giants didn’t even invite him. He paid his own way to fly there from Mississippi because he wanted to thank Bonds for taking him under his wing when he was a young player.
  • The crowd stood and roared and it got all emotional on several occasions. You’re gonna act like that’s dumb because you hate Barry Bonds, but people in San Francisco don’t. And you don’t hate the PED-associated dudes who played for your team. Don’t pretend otherwise, even if you want to make a case that it’s totally different.

Finally, Bonds took his old place in left field one last time. I wish that Sid Bream was on hand to round third one last time so Bonds could once again float a wounded duck to home, at which point the ghost of Skip Caray would go crazy, but we can’t always get what we want.

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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.