Carl Crawford is batting No. 2 against the Indians tonight, according to Rob Bradford of WEEI.com.
Red Sox manager Terry Francona raised some eyebrows by dropping Crawford to the seventh spot in the order on Sunday. Crawford batted third for the first two games of the season.
While Francona said that Crawford was bumped Sunday because he was “trying to do too much,” he did say that it’s possible that he could bat lower against left-handers early on in the season.
“Maybe get him and [Jacoby] Ellsbury back to back and let them get on base and cause some havoc. We may drop him down in the order, at least for a while, against lefties, just to kind of make our batting order look a little better but we’ll see. Again, when guys are hitting and they kind of get into the groove, that won’t matter as much. I just thought he was trying too hard the first couple of days.”
Crawford, who signed a seven-year, $142 million contract over the winter, is a .270/.315/.381 hitter against left-handed pitching.
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.