More non-surprising Day One Of The Hot Stove Season news: the Braves exercised options on shortstop Alex Gonzalez and ALL-STAR Omar Infante. They also signed reliever Scott Proctor to a one-year deal for $750,000 plus incentives.
Like I said, no-brainers. Gonzalez wasn’t any great shakes after coming over in the trade from Toronto, but he has pop, can still field well enough and, more importantly, he’s better and cheaper than just about any realistic option on the shortstop market. Infante, of course, constituted about two-thirds of the bailing wire that held the team together once Chipper Jones and Martin Prado went down with injuries. Brooks Conrad was the bubblegum, but the less said about him the better.
Proctor only pitched in six games for the Braves, but it was a rehab year for him. The incentive deal sounds right for a guy with his history, but if he’s back to his old form in 2011, Atlanta won’t mind paying the incentives.
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.