CHICAGO -- It took all of five questions during Yonder Alonso's interview session at Guaranteed Rate Field on Thursday to get to the topic of Manny Machado."I think it's the elephant in the room," said Alonso, after making calls to season-ticket holders alongside Dylan Cease, Zack Collins, Dewayne Wise, pitching
CHICAGO -- It took all of five questions during Yonder Alonso's interview session at Guaranteed Rate Field on Thursday to get to the topic of Manny Machado.
"I think it's the elephant in the room," said Alonso, after making calls to season-ticket holders alongside Dylan Cease, Zack Collins, Dewayne Wise, pitching coach Don Cooper, bullpen coach Curt Hasler, bench coach Joe McEwing and broadcasters Jason Benetti and Steve Stone. "No question about it."
At this point in the free agent process, the connection between Alonso and Machado is well-known. Alonso is Machado's brother-in-law, with Machado married to Alonso's sister, Yainee. Beyond their family ties, they are close friends who live near each other and work out together in Miami.
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Alonso understands the interest among White Sox fans and Major League Baseball in general for one of the two premier free agents, along with outfielder Bryce Harper. But the first baseman/designated hitter remains inclined to let Machado handle his business himself.
"Just taking it day by day," Alonso said. "I let those things and his family take care of those things on his own. I give him that privacy.
"He deserves that and we all as a family deserve that, as well, to respect his decision not only with himself but with his wife. Other than that, we're looking to have some surprises and maybe he will be my neighbor. The future is bright for him and his family, and like I said, he might be my neighbor."
Since being traded from the Indians to the White Sox on Dec. 15, 2018, Alonso has focused his offseason work and communications on Jose Abreu. The two talk frequently, and in fact, Alonso talked to Abreu on Thursday morning before he left for Chicago to attend this weekend's SoxFest activities.
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Abreu has 112 career games at designated hitter, compared to 629 at first base, but only 38 at DH over the past three seasons. Alonso served as DH seven times total over the last three years playing for Oakland, Seattle and Cleveland, but Alonso believes the adjustment won't be great for either player accustomed to being in the field.
"Communication is going to be a key and we definitely communicate very well, not only me and him but with the staff and [White Sox manager] Rick [Renteria]," Alonso said. "It's going to be fine. I think the ultimate goal here is to have 25 guys every single night and get a W whenever it comes. Get 27 outs, get a W and let's go home and take care of the rest the next day.
"I've known Jose for quite some time. He doesn't live far at all from my home in Miami. He came to my cage not too long ago to train together and hit a little bit together. It was nice just to talk to him and kind of get a feel for the goals for the upcoming season. Not only for this year, but for the future as well."
When asked about daydreaming of Machado joining this group, Alonso admitted, "It would be fun." He also mentioned how amazing it will be to have another guy he grew up with, Jonathan Jay, as part of the '19 White Sox.
Machado questions will also be on the lips of fans this weekend during Alonso's SoxFest interactions at the Hilton Chicago. Just as he has done with the media previously, Alonso won't hide from the topic.
"Yeah, I welcome all the questions," a smiling Alonso said.
Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and Facebook and listen to his podcast.