Dropped by the Indians last month, one-time elite prospect Andy Marte has signed a minor-league contract with the Pirates that includes an invitation to spring training.
Managing only a minor-league deal without a 40-man roster spot shows just how far Marte’s stock has plummeted since he ranked among Baseball America‘s top 15 prospects in 2004, 2005, and 2006, but Pittsburgh is as good a place as any to attempt a career resurrection for the 27-year-old.
After all, the Pirates just dropped a former top third base prospect of their own in Andy LaRoche. LaRoche has been a huge bust, but Marte has been one of the biggest busts of the past decade.
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.