Report: Padres set to meet with Bryce Harper on Thursday

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The Padres’ offseason is getting interesting.

A couple of weeks ago there was a big story about the San Diego Padres’ finances. It was deployed, I argued, by team ownership as an excuse for why the team isn’t spending any real money on the free agent market. Then, a few days later, a report emerged that the Padres were interested in Manny Machado, seeking an in-person meeting with him and everything.

Now, it is being reported, they’re doing the same for Bryce Harper:

He later added that the meeting would take place tonight.

Harper, of course, has drawn interest from the Phillies and White Sox, and the Nationals are reported to have made him at least one and possibly multiple offers to return to Washington. The Padres would be a new entry into the sweepstakes.

The Padres have an opening at third base, so Machado would make sense for them. They do not have any corner outfield openings, but of course when it’s Bryce Harper, you talk about displacing the current, inferior options, not “making room” for Harper. If he’s genuinely interested in coming to San Diego as opposed to merely using the Padres to try to get larger offers from another team, you send a company memo to all the rando outfielders on the roster and tell ’em “sorry, fellas, but one of ya is gonna be out of of a job.”

Our skepticism of the Padres’ willingness to spend money notwithstanding, they are a club with an excellent farm system that could, if things break right, be contending sooner than you might think. Adding a blue-chipper like Harper or Machado could certainly goose that process.

Stay tuned.

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.