Andrew Friedman officially withdrew his name from consideration for the Astros’ general manager search yesterday, releasing a statement that said he “chose not to be a part of the Astros’ process” and “it is in no way a reflection on the Houston organization.”
Saying “it is in no way a reflection of the Houston organization” might be a stretch, but the Astros aren’t the first team Friedman has turned down and various sources seem to agree that his strong relationship with the Rays’ ownership is what’s keeping him in Tampa Bay.
Friedman was obviously Houston’s first choice, but he was always an extremely long shot and the bigger problem for the Astros is that several of their other top targets have also turned them down for interviews. However, according to Zachary Levine of the Houston Chronicle they’ve moved on from those rejections to interview “a half-dozen candidates … with the team looking largely at the pool of those with scouting and player development experience.”
In the meantime interim general manager David Gottfried is said to have full authority to make moves and he’s expected to, at the very least, try to unload Carlos Lee’s contract and perhaps find a taker for Wandy Rodriguez.
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.