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Astros designate Wallace after signing Williams

HOUSTON -- While officially announcing they agreed to terms on a previously reported one-year deal with right-hander Jerome Williams on Thursday, the Astros opened up a spot on their 40-man roster by designating infielder Brett Wallace for assignment.

Wallace, 27, is off the 40-man roster, was expected to be one of a handful of players competing for the starting job at first base this spring. He appeared in 79 games across two stints with Houston last year and hit .221 with 13 homers, 36 RBIs and 104 strikeouts in 262 at-bats. The Astros have 10 days to trade Wallace, outright him to the Minor Leagues or release him. He is out of options.

Williams, 32, went 9-10 with a 4.57 ERA in 37 games, including 25 starts, for the Angels last year. He began the season in the Angels' bullpen, where he made his first eight appearances before starting 25 of his last 29 games from May through the end of the season.

Williams finished the season by posting a 4-0 record in five September starts with a 4.03 ERA. He has pitched in parts of eight Major League seasons with the Giants (2003-05), Cubs (2005-06), Nationals (2007) and Angels (2011-13), and has posted a career record of 42-47 with a 4.35 ERA.

"You look at his body of work, he's a guy who had to battle adversity just to get where he's at now and the experience factor," manager Bo Porter said. "I think he brings leadership on and off the field, and I also think that his body of work brings a work ethic and perseverance needed on our ballclub."

Williams will make a guaranteed base of $2.1 million with up to $1 million in incentives, structured around innings pitched and starts. He was the only pitcher in baseball last year to make at least 25 starts and 10 relief appearances.

He'll earn an additional $200,000 for his 12th, 15th, 20th, 25th and 30th starts, which equals $1 million. Or he'll get $100,000 for every 10 innings he pitches beginning at 120 innings and ending at 210 innings. He can get up to $1 million using any combination of starts or innings pitched.

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter.
Read More: Houston Astros, Brett Wallace, Jerome Williams