Yonder Alonso’s White Sox introduction is mostly about Manny Machado

In his explanation of the otherwise random-seeming trade for Yonder Alonso, Rick Hahn insisted that the transaction was “a baseball deal.” Sure, that describes every trade besides Swisher-for-Marquez, but specific to this case, Hahn meant that Alonso was acquired primarily for his baseball skills, and not because he’s Manny Machado’s brother-in-law.

The Chicago baseball writers privy to a conference call with Alonso on Monday weren’t buying it.

That’s not the kind of introduction most credible ballplayers expect with a new city, but to his credit, Alonso didn’t shy away from the questions. He didn’t speak for Machado, but he told reporters how he saw it.

“Obviously for me to be in such a great organization, great team, we understand that he’s obviously going to be meeting with other teams, including Chicago, the White Sox,” Alonso said in his introductory conference call to the Chicago media, which tilted around 70/30 in favor of questions about his sister’s husband. “We live two blocks away from each other in Miami. It will be very, very nice to also be neighbors on the South Side. I know he’s very excited for me, his whole family is very excited for me. And we feel like it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity. He’s going to do his thing, he’s going to obviously do what’s best for his family, but we all understand that we have a very tight family and we definitely would like to reach the playoffs. Maybe in the future play alongside each other.”

It’s easy to understand the distraction in play, because Alonso isn’t all that captivating by himself. His existential question is whether his production will resemble the first half of his 2017 season (.275/.372/.562), or the three baseball halves since (.251/.327/.420). The latter hitter is a slightly below-average starter, and thus not all that compelling.

Really, the most interesting angle with Alonso is whether that player is worth jostling Jose Abreu from his preferred spot. Alonso is the better defender, but he hasn’t graded out as elite since 2015.

He spoke about Abreu, which Daryl Van Schouwen relayed on Twitter:

Neither Van Schouwen nor anybody else put that in their stories, though, because Machado’s meeting at Guaranteed Rate Field was the story of the day, even if the only story to come out of the meeting so far was the stakeout of Machado itself.

As for that story, James Fegan told it the best:

In the brief window of time he was visible to the public between pulling into Lot D and ducking in for the first of a multi-stop tour of the city (Dinner at Gibson’s? Manny’s Deli? The Stony Island Harold’s Chicken?), Machado combatted his reputation of being allergic to hustle by swiftly eluding The Score’s Bruce Levine and two cameramen. The next time Machado drops by the South Side, though, be assured Bruce will get him.

* * * * * * * * *

Another interesting element of the Alonso trade that had nothing to do with Alonso: the financial relief Cleveland received by moving his $9 million obligation.

It remains to be seen how the Indians will best exercise it — perhaps it just allows them to keep Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer.

While Alonso’s salary was still on their books, it may have prevented the Indians from extending a qualifying offer to Michael Brantley, but it didn’t cost them a first-round draft pick. Even without any kind of compensation attached, Brantley is reportedly signing with the Houston Astros for just two years and $32 million.

Unless Brantley really wanted to join the Astros, the qualifying offer turned out to be the market rate. Either way, the total sum was well below the $50 million needed to gain a sandwich pick after the first round. Instead, it cost them a pick around No. 80 or so.

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How good is the off season going? Ive watched a free agent walk from a parking lot to a stadium 3 times…. can manny feel how thirsty we all are?


What is the deal with Bruce Levine and punctuation?


What’s the deal with airplane food?


What is the deal with Deal or No Deal.


What’s the New Deal?


why do we park in a driveway and drive in a parkway?

he’s thinking about the punctuation we’re all using.


What’s the deal with Grapenuts? No grapes, no nuts.

Lurker Laura

This may be the dumbest offseason ever. I feel like a college football fan who thinks Coach X is coming to my school because his wife was seen looking at real estate in town.


It seems to me that the #Phillies interest in Bryce Harper is overblown if in fact they did not meet with him and Scott Boras in Las Vegas. If a player is one of your primary offseason targets and he is taking visitors down the street, you stop by and say hello.

— Steve Phillips (@StevePhillipsGM) December 18, 2018


he isn’t totally wrong but a blank check still usually fixes just about anything

As Cirensica

He isn’t wrong, yet it’s Steve Philips. My head hurts now.


Heyman of course already contradicts this report from Phillips


CBSSports is reporting the Phillies are “hedging” on signing either of Harper or Machado.


Rec’d for the second Swisher trade reference, and for quoting Fegan’s mention of the Stony Island Harold’s location (closer to Manny’s next place of work than Calumet Fisheries, and a short jaunt to Rainbow Beach).


Did Renteria give a PowerPoint presentation on how often he intends for Manny to bunt? 


Gotta give Alonso some credit, it must suck to have your entire intro to your new team be about your brother in law and how you’re not good enough to play first over the incumbent. Handled it pretty well


This feels…sad. As Jim said about getting players for their leadership skills – I look forward to when the Sox can have better selling points for free agents than “you could play with your brother in law!”


I wouldn’t want to play with my brother in law because then I couldn’t make jokes about my mother in law.


I don’t know if there’s something I’m missing but one interesting market to follow is the one for A.J. Pollock. He’s the best CF available and there hasn’t been a peep about any interested teams.
If it comes to late January and the Sox have one of the big fish signed and Pollock still has negligible interest, I wonder if they could get him on a high AAV 1 or 2 year deal. He’s looking for 80/5 so maybe without other strong interest he would take 25/1 with a player option at 12 for the second year?


I agree. If they sign Machado, I would like to see them go after Pollock. But if they sign Harper, I wouldn’t want to completely fill the outfield.


Sox system is loaded with outfielders/cf’s they’d be crazy to spend a massive amount of funds on a walking wounded player like pollock who is also on the wrong side of 30. If his market crashes and you can get him on a 2 year deal ok why not, but the 5 and 80 he is looking for would be an insane gamble that just isnt needed.

As Cirensica

yes…no need for a long term commitment for Pollock when Basabe is around the corner. That Basabe doesn’t hit like Pollock? True, that’s why Hahn needs to sign Harchado


Even if his market crashes he still costs a draft pick and international bonus money. No reason for a rebuilding club to do that.


IMO a team trying to win in 2020 should absolutely give up supplemental round draft picks and intl bonus money if that’s what a productive MLB roster player costs.


I agree with that if it wasnt at a position they are absolutely stocked at come 2020, and if it wasnt for a player who is never healthy and will be 33 when 2020 rolls around. The sox have plenty of holes their resources can be much better spent elsewhere.


Exactly. It didn’t work when the Sox did it with Melky, Robertson, etc. If the front office did that again with Pollock I’d buy a Cubs hat.


When healthy Pollock is much better than non-roid Melky because he can actually play a good defensive CF.



Right Size Wrong Shape

That would be the tipping point?


That is a huge assumption that any of Robert, Gonzalez, or Basabe are ready by 2020, especially with Basabe’s strikeout rate and mediocre fall league performance. That being said, if the Sox don’t sign Harper Pollock would make a lot of sense since they could move him over to right field at some point. Big gamble is if he is healthy or not over a 4 year contract.


Sox reach agreement with NBC Sports Chicago on on new TV deal per Levine no details:


Information by way of an official announcement will come soon .Figures to be lucrative . Cubs going in different direction


I think the numbers for the last deal were in the 750k per game range on comcast…. if its even up to 850k thats 137,700,000…. add in the new shared revenue streams of 5.1 billion from fox for 7 years by 30 teams… thats another 24 mil per, add in a few mil per for streaming services and extra innings and mlb cable packages our own radio deal… you are looking at unbelievable amounts of revenue before one hot dog, beer, ticket, hat, parking pass is sold etc etc


I think it was more like $450K per game. Local tv deal totaled $51M per year


From article I read a cable sports station like comcast chicago the team was getting 750k per game, but the national network in this case wgn it was 200k , arent we cutting out wgn in this new deal thus creating a cable only station agreement with the bulls and hawks?? Thus exploding the tv revenue?


Per the Athletic it’s only a 5-year deal with NBCSN


Old Friend Alerts:

Mariners signed RHP Tyler Danish to a minor league contract.

Red Sod signed RHP Zach Putnam to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.