Padres fire hitting coach Matt Stairs

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The Padres are firing hitting coach Matt Stairs and infield coach Josh Johnson.

In 2018 the Padres were 13th in the National League in runs scored, 13th in slugging, 13th in OPS, 12th in OPS+ and dead last in on-base percentage.

That’s not good, but it’s also worth noting that Stairs was the ninth hitting coach the perpetually-punchless Padres have had in the 15 seasons they’ve played in Petco Park. Hitting coaches are often the fall guy when a team doesn’t perform offensively, but at some point — and I’d say after hitting coach seven or eight maybe — perhaps someone should acknowledge that the club (a) plays in a challenging hitter’s environment; and (b) has not always had great offensive talent and that, maybe, it’s not the hitting coach’s fault.

Beyond stairs and Johnson, it appears that the Padres coaching staff will remain intact.

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.