On Thursday, Fred Mitchell and David Kaplan of the Chicago Tribune cited “excellent baseball sources” who told them that the Cubs may be involved in trade talks that would send Derrek Lee to the Angels. On Friday, Lee told Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune that he hasn’t heard anything about it.
“Who are the ‘excellent sources?'” Lee asked. “I’ve heard nothing on it.
I’ve got nothing for you.”
Lee, 34, is in the final year of a five-year, $65 million contract, so it would make some sense for the Cubs to shop him if they are still out of the race in July. They’d probably have to kick in some of his remaining $13 million salary in order to do so, especially if he continues to hit poorly. Keep in mind that his contract includes a no-trade clause, so the Cubs would have to get Lee’s approval on any potential deal.
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.