Danny Valencia’s walk-off single against Chris Perez last night was dramatic enough, coming with the bases loaded and turning a 1-0 Indians lead into a 2-1 Twins victory, but their back story added to the drama.
Valencia and Perez have been friends since high school, played together at the University of Miami, and were roommates for two years. And after Valencia handed Perez just his second blown save of the season he also handed him some pillows and blankets, with the Indians closer staying at the Twins third baseman’s place for the night.
Asked about their postgame plans for the evening, Valencia replied: “We’re just going to watch highlights over and over.”
If Valencia’s hand didn’t end up in a bowl of hot water Perez is a better friend than me.
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.