Report: Mets hiring hitting coach Eric Chavez away from Yankees

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NEW YORK — The New York Mets are set to hire Eric Chavez as hitting coach, luring him away from the crosstown Yankees as the team begins to put together a staff under new manager Buck Showalter.

Chavez and the Mets have an agreement in place, according to a person familiar with the decision. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the move had not been announced.

The person also confirmed the Mets were close to hiring Joey Cora as third base coach and Wayne Kirby as first base coach.

Chavez batted .268 with 260 home runs and an .818 OPS during a 17-year major league career that ended in 2014. He won a 2002 Silver Slugger award and six straight Gold Gloves at third base with Oakland from 2001-06.

In a move announced last month, the 44-year-old Chavez was hired by the New York Yankees as one of two assistants to new hitting coach Dillon Lawson – and projected to take on a role beyond his title.

“He’s got a really good perspective on the game. He’s very open-minded,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said then about Chavez. “I kind of view him as a little bit of a Swiss Army (knife). He’s going to have a lot of different responsibilities. He’s going to have his hands in a lot of different things. It’s a role that I feel is going to evolve as he allows it to.”

The Mets essentially offered a promotion, however, and Chavez is ready to jump from the Bronx to Queens in the latest example of a prominent staff member crossing town.

Showalter, of course, began his managerial career with the Yankees from 1992-95 before returning to New York to take the Mets job last month.

Billy Eppler, the Mets’ new general manager, cut his teeth in the Yankees’ front office from 2005-14.

And in November, the Yankees hired former Mets manager Luis Rojas as third base and outfield coach under Boone. Rojas was let go by the Mets in early October following two losing seasons.

Chavez played 13 seasons for the Athletics, two for the Yankees (2011-12) and two for the Arizona Diamondbacks (2013-14). He spent five seasons with the Los Angeles Angels (2016-20) as a special assistant to Eppler when he was the club’s general manager.

Cora, the older brother of Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora, played 11 seasons in the majors from 1987-98 and spent the past five years coaching third base for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Kirby played eight big league seasons from 1991-98 and has coached first base for the Baltimore Orioles (under Showalter) and San Diego Padres.

Showalter and the Mets still have bench coach and other positions to fill. Only pitching coach Jeremy Hefner is returning from last year’s 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.