Nationals fans creatively deface Bryce Harper jerseys

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A big star leaves town and his former hometown fans feel betrayed. They hate him and call him greedy. They boo him when he returns and hold a grudge until the end of their days — or until the guy comes back on a final one-year deal at the end of his career, after which all is forgiven.

It’s a tale as old as time. Or, well, as old as free agency.

A lot of the time the booing and the hatred seems unfair to me. Sometimes guys who are simply traded away are booed, which is odd given that they didn’t have a choice. Often, when a guy leaves via free agency, the team made no real effort to keep the player, again, giving him no choice but to leave. Doesn’t matter, though. There is always going to be a certain segment of fans who root for laundry, who hate players who don’t wear the preferred laundry and who especially hate the players who once wore the preferred laundry and don’t anymore.

Which makes me wonder: if they love the laundry so much, why do they destroy it like these Nats fans did to their very expensive Bryce Harper jerseys, as seen at yesterday’s Mets-Nats game:

No word on whether they hold a similar grudge against the billionaire owners of the team who lowballed Harper in contract negotiations. Maybe they defaced their Armani suits to protest that and we just haven’t seen ’em yet.

Free agent slugger José Abreu signs 3-year, $58.5M deal with Astros

Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

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.