Last offseason the Royals acquired Josh Fields from the White Sox along with Chris Getz in exchange for Mark Teahen, but after one injury wrecked season in Kansas City the former top prospect and 2004 first-round pick was non-tendered a few weeks ago.
Fields has latched on with the Pirates, agreeing to a minor-league contract with an invite to spring training, where he’ll likely compete with fellow prospect bust Andy Marte for a bench job.
Fields showed lots of power as a 24-year-old rookie in 2007, hitting .244 with 23 homers and a .788 OPS in 418 plate appearances, but has managed just 10 homers since then while hitting .228 with a .649 OPS and ugly 102/29 K/BB ratio in 353 trips to the plate.
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.