The Chicago White Sox introduced Cuban slugger Jose Abreu at a Tuesday press conference after he officially signed a six-year, $68 million contract.
"I have to give a lot of thanks to the Cuban players who are playing for the White Sox who created this atmosphere where I feel comfortable coming here," Abreu said through translator and White Sox director of public relations Lou Hernandez, with White Sox and Cuban legend Minnie Minoso sitting a few feet in front of them. "Having spoken with them about the White Sox, about the organization, it makes things easier and made the decision easier. I'm thankful to them for giving me that perspective."
The contract is the largest in White Sox history. Abreu will make $7 million in both 2014 and 2015, $10 million in 2016, $10.5 million in 2017, $11.5 million in 2018 and $12 million in 2019. He also received a $10 million signing bonus. The contract is the largest ever given to a new-arriving international player, beating out Yasiel Puig's $42 million deal with the Dodgers.
"We are very excited to add a talent like Jose to our roster for the next several years," general manager Rick Hahn said. "His skill set should translate very well to our ballpark, and we expect him to be a part of successful White Sox teams throughout his time in Chicago."
Abreu, 26, defected this summer. He is expected to be the White Sox's regular first baseman. Longtime Chicago first baseman Paul Konerko is a free agent.
--Taking over as pitching coach for a fifth major league team, Dave Wallace joined the Baltimore Orioles' staff.
Wallace, 66, had previous stints guiding the pitching staffs of the Los Angeles Dodgers (1995-97, 2000), the New York Mets (1999-2000), the Boston Red Sox (2003-06) and the Houston Astros (2007). He was part of the staff that led the Red Sox to the 2004 World Series title.
In 2001, Wallace served as the Dodgers' general manager. Most recently, he was the Atlanta Braves' minor league pitching coordinator.
--The Milwaukee Brewers will bring back right fielder Norichika Aoki next year, as they picked up the $2 million option on his contract.
The leadoff hitter batted .286 with a .356 on-base percentage, a .370 slugging percentage, eight homers, 37 RBIs and 20 stolen bases this year. Over two seasons in Milwaukee, the 31-year-old has a .287 average and 50 steals.