Eric Chavez agreed to a minor-league contract with the Yankees last week and today the deal (and its details) became official.
Chavez will get $1.5 million if he makes the team out of spring training and Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that he can opt out of the contract and become a free agent again if he’s not added to the roster by March 26.
If he does make the team, Chavez can then earn an additional $4 million in bonuses based on playing time and days spent on the roster, which is basically a way for the Yankees to avoid paying the oft-injured infielder if he’s on the disabled list.
Even if Chavez is healthy he won’t play much for the Yankees with Alex Rodriguez at third base and Mark Teixeira at first base, so while the contract is worth up to $5.5 million that’s sort of like saying a lottery ticket is worth up to $100 million. On the other hand, even the $1.5 million he’d get for making the Opening Day roster is a significant chunk of change for a guy who hasn’t been healthy and productive since 2007, so he’ll definitely have to prove he’s worth keeping prior to March 26.
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.