Report: Eric Chavez favored to replace Mike Scioscia as Angels manager

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USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports that former big league third baseman Eric Chavez is favored to be the next Angels manager. That is, if Mike Scioscia does not stay in the job. Whether he does or not is currently unclear.

A month ago Ken Rosenthal reported that Scioscia would not return for his 20th season at the helm. Scioscia denied that report, but it’s unclear if the matter is in his hands. Given that last week he told Terry Smith of KLAA that that he’d like to continue managing beyond 2018, I’d guess that it’s not in his control. There has been no definitive word from Angels’ brass either way.

Chavez, who retired after the 2014 season, is a special assistant with the Angels. Before that he was a special assistant with the New York Yankees, both under current Angels GM Billy Eppler who used to work for the Yankees. Chavez managed the Angels’ Triple-A team in Salt Lake City for the final month of this season after their manager was promoted to the big league coaching staff. An audition? A coincidence? I guess we’ll find out soon.

Scioscia, who turns 60 in November, took over the Angels before the 2000 season. In his third year the Angels won the World Series and his clubs have made the postseason seven times in his 19 seasons. He was named the AL Manager of the Year in 2002 and 2009. The Angels have not finished over .500 since 2015, however, despite employing the best player in baseball.

Some think it’s time to move on from Scioscia. Whether the Angels think so will likely not be clear until the season is over next week.

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.