They aren’t sure where Yonder Alonso will play defensively, using the natural first baseman in left field and at third base because of Joey Votto’s presence, but the Reds are certain the 24-year-old former first-round pick needs to lose some weight wherever he winds up.
Alonso, who’s listed at 6-foot-2 and 241 pounds, told John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer that he’s already hired a personal chief with an eye on changing his offseason routine:
It’s going to be an offseason where I’m going to do a lot of things differently. I’m going to get faster. My offseason workout regiment is going to be very different. A lot more running. It’s going to be a left fielder-type attitude coming into the offseason. I’m very excited. We’ll go from there.
Dusty Baker told Fay that the Reds haven’t decided on a specific number of pounds they want Alonso to lose, but the idea is clearly to find out if he’s capable of being the long-term answer in left field.
Prior to being called up most people who’d seen Alonso regularly in the minors had serious doubts about his ability to handle any position but first base and he’s made multiple miscues in left field while posting some hideous numbers in what’s admittedly a small sample size. However, if the goal is for Alonso to simply go from “horrendous” to merely “bad” defensively the combination of dropping 15-20 pounds and gaining more experience in the outfield could do the trick.
The Red Sox have more or less withdrawn from the Edwin Encarnacion sweepstakes, with Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald noting that much of their reluctance hinges on the likelihood that they’d exceed the new $195 million luxury tax threshold by locking the DH into a lucrative deal. That doesn’t leave them without options, however, and FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported that the club could be interested in 29-year-old corner infielder Pedro Alvarez, as well as fellow free agents Mike Napoli and Matt Holliday.
After playing just 10 games at DH from 2010 to 2015, Alvarez suited up as the Orioles’ primary designated hitter and part-time third baseman in 2016. His defense is sub-par, to say the least, but he batted .249/.322/.504 with 22 home runs for Baltimore in 2016.
According to Heyman, the Red Sox envision using Alvarez in much the same way the Orioles did. He’d have a place as the team’s DH with the occasional infield start, while Hanley Ramirez would keep his post at first base. Whether the Red Sox make offers to Napoli, Holliday or Alvarez, they’re expected to pursue a short-term deal in order to stay under budget.
The Braves signed left-handed reliever Jacob Lindgren to a one-year deal, according to a team announcement on Sunday.
Lindgren, the Yankees’ top draft pick in 2014, was nicknamed “The Strikeout Factory” after blowing through four levels of New York’s farm system in 2014. He started the 2015 season in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and was called up for his major league debut only two months into the 2015 season. The 22-year-old lasted seven innings with the club before succumbing to bone chips in his elbow, and underwent bone spur surgery in June before trying his luck again during spring training in 2016.
In August, the Yankees shut Lindgren down for the remainder of the season so the lefty could undergo Tommy John surgery. With a projected return date of 2018, Lindgren was non-tendered by the Yankees on Friday.
While the Braves won’t get the benefit of Lindgren’s top prospect skill set in their bullpen anytime soon, he will remain under club control if they keep him on their 40-man roster beyond the 2017 season (per ESPN’s Keith Law).