Blocked by Joey Votto, Reds prospect Yonder Alonso moves to left field

Leave a comment

Yonder Alonso has played exclusively first base in the minors since being the seventh overall pick in the 2008 draft, but with Joey Votto blocking his path to Cincinnati for the next decade or so the Reds have decided to shift him to the outfield.
MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon reports that Alonso will begin this season playing left field at Double-A, where he finished last season by hitting .295/.372/.457 with 13 extra-base hits and a 15/14 K/BB ratio in 29 games as a first baseman.
Alonso certainly could make a relatively smooth transition to left field at age 23, but it sure seems unlikely. He’s played every inning of his pro career at first base and in ranking him as the Reds’ second-best prospect Baseball America noted that “his well-below-average speed limits him to first base.”
More likely is that the Reds give him some time in left field at Double-A, determine that they probably wouldn’t want to actually stick him out there in Cincinnati, and eventually pursue a trade. Because whether he ends up being flat-out awful or merely just sub par in left field, Alonso would have more value to a team that could install him at first base long term.

Phillies, Red Sox interested in Carlos Santana

Getty Images
6 Comments

The Phillies and Red Sox appear intent on pursuing free agent first baseman Carlos Santana, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports. Santana rejected a one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Indians on Thursday and is expected to draw widespread interest on the market this winter. The Mets, Mariners, Angels and Indians could make a play for the infielder, though no serious offers have been made this early in the offseason.

Santana, 31, is coming off of a seven-year track with the Indians. He batted .259/.363/.455 with 23 home runs and 3.0 fWAR last season, making 2017 the fourth-most valuable year of his career to date. Although he was primarily stationed at first base over the last year, he could step back into a hybrid first base/DH role with the Red Sox, who are hurting for infield depth with Hanley Ramirez still working his way back from shoulder surgery.

As for Santana’s other suitors, the Mariners are far less likely to pursue a deal after trading for Ryon Healy last Wednesday. Neither the Mets nor the Phillies have a DH spot to offer the veteran infielder, and the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins appears to be blocking the way at first base. Then again, Santana may not find a more enticing offer outside of Cleveland, where Edwin Encarnacion might otherwise be the club’s best option at first base. During the GM meetings, Indians’ GM Mike Chernoff said he “love to have both [Santana and Jay Bruce] back” in 2018, but hasn’t backed up that love with any contract talks just yet.