Royals sign Martin Maldonado to one-year deal

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The Kansas City Royals have agreed to a one-year, $2.5 million deal with free agent catcher Martin Maldonado. Maldonado can earn $1.4 million in incentives for games caught. The deal is pending a physical.

The Royals were in need of a catcher after losing Salvador Perez for the season due to Tommy John surgery. Maldonado — an excellent defensive catcher who is limited offensively — was in need of a job after languishing on the free agent market all winter and into spring training. Last week he fired his agent, Scott Boras, and hired Dan Lozano of MVP Sports Group. Ken Rosenthal reported that Maldonado turned down a two-year, $12 million contract offer from the Houston Astros when free agency began last fall. So, yeah, ouch.

Maldonado spent last season with the Angels and Astros, hitting .225 with nine homers and 44 RBIs in 119 games. He is considered the best pitch-framer in the game, however, and will no doubt be an asset to an inexperienced Royals pitching staff.


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.