From MASN’s Roch Kubatko comes word that the Orioles “have discussed” the idea of making a run at free agent first baseman Casey Kotchman.
It’s not clear whether those talks were all internal or whether there’s been direct contact with Kotchman’s representatives. But it does seem like a decent fit.
Kotchman is an elite defensive first baseman and registered a solid .306/.378/.422 batting line in 563 plate appearances last season for the Rays. Signing him would allow Baltimore to make Chris Davis the primary designated hitter while also pushing Wilson Betemit to a utility role. The Indians have also been linked recently to Kotchman.
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.