Two tidbits from Buster Olney’s “evaluators”

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I read Buster Oleny’s column every day. It’s handy, as he links the great bulk of the day’s major stories. And while I don’t always agree with Buster’s take on things, I think he gets stuff right more often than a lot of the other big national guys do when they take off their reporter’s hat and think about the issues of the day.

Buster also seems pretty ego-free, and I get the sense that I’d enjoy sitting down for a beer with him more than I would the other handful of guys with whom he competes. Assuming he drinks beer. I’ve been to two Winter Meetings now, and I don’t recall him hobnobbing in the hotel lobby with the rest of us lushes, so maybe not. No matter.

Anyway, one of the things that has amused me lately about Buster’s column is that he uses the term “evaluator” all the time when referring to his sources. Maybe he’s done this a while, but I’m just noticing it. I’m pretty sure he used to use “scouts,” but now it’s “evaluator.” Probably pretty handy because you can include GMs and others farther up the chain with the same anonymous description. Although to be honest, part of me wants to think that it’s just Buster adding flair to the title, because I like the idea of the extremely straightforward Olney adding flair for no real reason.

Today there are two “evaluator” notes in his column that caught my eye. The first:

One evaluator loves the work he has seen out of Prince Fielder this spring, saying that Fielder is playing very hard and hustling.

Note to those who keep score of such things: a non-white, non-middle-infielder was described as “hustling.” That should bring the score to 1,345,224 to 2.  Also:

A rival evaluator stationed in Arizona thinks that the worst team he has seen this spring is the Diamondbacks. “They just don’t have a lot (of talent) over there,” he said.

I think the “stationed in Arizona” part is key, because I can’t see how the Pirates aren’t going to be the worst team in baseball this year.  Though, yeah, as far as the Arizona teams go, I think he probably has a point about the Diamondbacks

Report: White Sox acquire Yonder Alonso from Indians

Yonder Alonso
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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.