There has been an insane amount of attention paid to Michael Pineda this spring. First his weight, then his velocity. Now, if you can believe it, there are questions about whether he even makes the team:
That’s just insane to me. Not just because Pineda had a really nice rookie season last year which shows that he can get major league hitters out. And not just because he has been perfectly respectable this spring — he has struck out 16 batters in 16 and a third innings. But rather, because I can’t feature the Yankees wanting to deal with the talk radio and newspaper crap they’d get if the guy they traded for Jesus Montero starts in the minors.
Maybe they don’t care — the Yankees probably care way less about that stuff than a lot of teams — but starting Pineda in the minors seems like rash move.
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.