Reports vary on the length of the proposed deal, but what we know for sure is that the Reds offered Dusty Baker a contract extension over a month ago and the impending free agent manager has yet to accept or decline.
Here’s what he told Mark Sheldon of MLB.com:
Sooner or later. Right now, I’m not focusing on me. I’m focused on us and getting to the playoffs. I don’t know. I haven’t really thought about it. I’m trying to figure how to win as many games as we can.
Obviously his uncertain long-term status hasn’t hurt the team any, because the Reds are pulling away from the Cardinals in the NL Central, and with a ton of prime manager gigs expected to open up this offseason it’s tough to blame Baker for possibly wanting to hit the open market.
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.