As Machado visits White Sox, Alonso makes pitch
New first baseman is brother-in-law to prized free agent
CHICAGO -- While free agent Manny Machado visited Monday afternoon with the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field, Yonder Alonso, Machado's brother-in-law, talked with Chicago media members via conference call from his Miami home.
If Alonso has his druthers, he soon will be talking about the White Sox as a family affair.
"We are definitely very close," the upbeat Alonso said of Machado. "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. I definitely want him to be my neighbor, I'll tell you that. I want him to be by my side. But again, I know he is going to do his thing and make his own decision."
Alonso, 31, joined the White Sox on Saturday in a trade with Cleveland that sent Minor League outfielder Alex Call to the Indians. The White Sox added the left-handed-hitting first baseman for his ability first and foremost, after Alonso knocked out 23 home runs with 83 RBIs in 2018.
White Sox interest in Alonso dated back to his time at the University of Miami and extended into last offseason, when they pursued him as a free agent. And it's difficult to ignore the close personal connection to one of the premium free agents on the market, an individual who knows Machado probably better than anyone in the game.
With that knowledge, Alonso provided insight into Machado beyond the impressive numbers and the "Johnny Hustle" comment he made during the postseason.
"He wants to be a winning player, he wants to set a legacy for himself as a winning player, as a guy who does big things in the playoffs as we've all seen," Alonso said. "This guy had a really good postseason, and the sky is the limit for him and his family anywhere he goes.
"Obviously given the playoff situation, [the comment] was a little bit overblown. We're looking at a player, a family person, a player that wants to be better every single day, a guy that pushes everybody. I know what he does off the field, on the field. When he shows up, he shows up ready to play every single day. He gives it everything he's got and at the end of the day it's about wins, wins, wins, wins. That's all he wants.
"This guy plays hard. He plays really good defense. He's been a Platinum Glove winner. On a family level, to see him every day working out and seeing him train and seeing the way he goes about his business, [he's] an all-out type of guy."
Beyond the Machado inquiries, Alonso talked about sharing first base and DH duties with Jose Abreu and their connection dating back to their days in Cuba. He also addressed the plethora of young players running throughout the organization, a talented crew only enhanced by the possible addition of Machado.
"We have a bunch of prospects and we have a bunch of good players coming," Alonso said. "But at some point, the way I see it, it's time to win. It's time to win now.
"Whatever the best opportunity is for [Machado] and regardless of the situation, whether he comes to Chicago or goes elsewhere, I stand right behind him pushing him to be a better player and hopefully not against us. Hopefully he's next to me and he's able to play well."