Just got the press release from MLB about the new ESPN rights deal. It’s mostly as reported this morning. This stood out, however:
ESPN has also made a commitment to showcase each of the 30 MLB Clubs at least once per season in a live game telecast.
This is at least a bone to fans of teams who don’t play for one of the big boys. Of course, I presume that fans of those teams will get to see their guys playing one of the big boys in one of these guaranteed games.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Ratings are what pay for these deals, and way more people will watch the Yankees play the Royals than will watch the Rays play the Royals.
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.