LaVelle Neal reports that Joe Mauer’s agent, Ron Shapiro, is in Fort Myers meeting with Twins’ execs today. Everyone is saying it’s a routine visit, but Neal reports that, yes, Shapiro and the Twins will be negotiating about Mauer, which they have been doing on and off for a few weeks now.
Ominous note: Neal says “there are indications that progress has slowed recently.” Given how mum everyone has been about it I’m not sure how you can tell, but Neal knows more than I do about it. Whatever the case, recall that Mauer likely won’t be negotiating after spring training is over, so if there’s a deal to be done, they best get to it.
The White Sox have reportedly picked up first baseman Yonder Alonso from the Indians, according to Stadium. The return for Alonso is expected to be nothing more flashy than a “fringe prospect,” though the minutiae of the deal is still pending a formal announcement from both teams.
Alonso, 31, inked a two-year deal with the Indians during the 2017 offseason. His first campaign with the club yielded a modest .250/.317/.421 batting line, 23 home runs, .738 OPS and 0.7 fWAR in 574 PA. The real boon for the White Sox may not be a passable veteran bat, however, but something more intangible — like Alonso’s clout with his brother-in-law and highly-coveted free agent slugger, Manny Machado.
While Alonso’s 2018 output represented a significant decline from the career-best numbers he posted in 2017, he’s still a solid contributor at the plate and, more importantly, slated to remain under team control for the next two years with just $8 million owed in 2019 and a $9 million option in 2020. As MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince notes, the $17 million the Indians just erased from their payroll should give them enough room to accommodate the contracts for right-handers Trevor Bauer and Corey Kluber — a bonus regardless of what they happen to get in the trade.