Merry Strasmas, everyone!

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Strasburg debut.jpgWashington is the center of the baseball universe today. Last night it was Bryce Harper’s time in the spotlight. Today is much bigger: Stephen Strasburg’s debut.

It’s easy to go overboard with this, of course. He’s a phenom. A freak. A savior. You name it.  But he’s also a young pitcher who, however much he dazzled ’em in the minors, will take his bumps and bruises for a while in the big leagues. Nothing brings that concept home more than a review of the last twenty or so debuts from stud pitchers, a slide show of which you can see here.

The best part of the slide show: just how damn young some of those guys look.

Report: White Sox acquire Yonder Alonso from Indians

Yonder Alonso
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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.