SI.com’s Jon Heyman reported earlier this week that the Red Sox and Twins have serious interest in 26-year-old Japanese infielder and MLB free agent Tsuyoshi Nishioka. And now other teams are looking to join the fray.
From Patrick Newman’s NPB Tracker comes a couple of updates on the highly coveted Nishioka:
The Orioles fully intend to at least make a bid. The Mariners and Padres are also strongly considering making offers.
The Diamondbacks are out, worried that the price will be too high. The Giants aren’t going to send in a proposal either.
Nishioka won the batting title in Nippon Professional Baseball this past year and is hoping to cash in with a move state-side. Most MLB clubs view him as a second baseman rather than a shortstop, but that’s all case-by-case depending on individual needs.
Nishioka has expressed a desire to play on the West Coast, but he’ll probably chase the largest and most lucrative contract in the end.
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.