Ryne Sandberg was the Pacific Coast League manager of the year in 2010, but left the Cubs organization after being passed over for the big-league managerial opening and spent this season managing at Triple-A for the Phillies.
Prior to Sandberg’s arrival Lehigh Valley had never finished above .500 since coming into existence in 2008, but he managed the IronPigs into the International League playoffs.
Sandberg’s previous success managing in the minors didn’t help him much when it came to landing a prominent spot on a major-league coaching staff, but at some point you’d think the Hall of Famer would get an opportunity. And with the Cubs firing general manager Jim Hendry and perhaps firing Mike Quade after the season Sandberg will probably be linked to that job again.
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.