CHICAGO -- It doesn't take much of an internet search to find out first baseman Yonder Alonso is the brother-in-law of premium free agent Manny Machado.That same search turns up that the White Sox are reportedly meeting with Machado this coming week. So, the addition of Alonso via trade from
CHICAGO -- It doesn't take much of an internet search to find out first baseman Yonder Alonso is the brother-in-law of premium free agent Manny Machado.
That same search turns up that the White Sox are reportedly meeting with Machado this coming week. So, the addition of Alonso via trade from the Indians in exchange for Minor League outfielder Alex Call, a move made official on Saturday morning, figures to help the recruitment cause.
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But general manager Rick Hahn, speaking on a conference call on Saturday before going to work the scoreboard at one of his sons' youth hockey games, pointed out this deal was much more than a family affair.
"Fundamentally this is a baseball deal," Hahn said. "We feel this makes us better.
"We like how Yonder fits in between the lines and in the clubhouse, and helps further what we're trying to accomplish in 2019 and beyond. The potential ancillary benefits to it in terms of his relationships with others really can't be part of pulling the trigger in making the decision to acquire a big league player, especially a veteran one with this type of contract commitment."
Alonso, 31, hit .250 with 23 home runs, 83 RBIs, 19 doubles and a .738 OPS in '18. He played 138 games at first base for the American League Central champions, and he will split time with Jose Abreu between first and designated hitter. Abreu, who enters his last year of White Sox contractual control, played 114 games at first and served as DH 13 times during an '18 campaign marked with a couple of late injuries.
Abreu has not been a huge fan of the DH role, and Alonso only DHd once in each of the past two seasons. But Hahn talked to Abreu prior to the trade on Friday, and he's excited to have his good friend join the team.
"If he had his preference, he'd play 162 games per year, all of them at first base," Hahn said of Abreu. "Ultimately as he's gotten older and he's seen the seven and a half or longer month grind as part of being a big leaguer, he knows there's benefit to being off his feet and pacing himself, so he can be strong and continue to be the powerful offensive force that he is at the big league level."
Alonso has an $8 million salary for 2019 and a $9 million option for '20 with a $1 million buyout. Per Cot's Contracts, Alonso's 2020 option is guaranteed if he passes a physical after the 2019 season and has 550 plate appearances in 2019 or 1,100 plate appearances in '18-19 combined.
Plenty of contractual room exists for the White Sox even after adding Alonso's salary, as Spotrac has them just over $33 million pre-arbitration for '19. This Alonso move, which followed the free-agent signing of catcher James McCann on Friday yet to be announced by the White Sox, might indicate a change in direction from fellow premium free agent Bryce Harper. Or the relationship between Machado and Alonso could be just an interesting side note.
Regardless of the potential ancillary benefits mentioned by Hahn, the White Sox are happy to add a player in Alonso, who they pursued via free agency last offseason and have scouted since his days at the University of Miami.
"He provides a nice balance in our lineup and has nothing but a great reputation in terms of his game preparation, his professionalism, and the element of veteran leadership he will add to our clubhouse," Hahn said. "We certainly feel like it improves us in 2019 and like the potential of having him around in 2020 as well."
Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and Facebook and listen to his podcast.