I’ll try to avoid the usual durability jokes and simply pass this news along, because Rich Harden has certainly had it rough enough.
The oft-injured right-hander has resumed throwing off a mound following two months on the sidelines with lat muscle soreness, but manager Bob Geren cautioned to Jane Lee of MLB.com that there’s no timetable for Harden to appear in a simulated game, let alone for him to actually come off the disabled list.
Harden, who has yet to pitch for the A’s after signing an incentive-laden one-year deal as a free agent, threw off a mound Sunday and yesterday, with Geren describing him as “free and easy.”
Normally this is where I’d make some snide comment but I’ll hold off, at least until Harden’s next setback.
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.