Ian Stewart, reportedly healthy again after wrist surgery, is set to re-sign with the Cubs, according to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com.
USATODAY’s Bob Nightengale reports that it’s a one-year, $2 million deal with up to $500,000 in incentives.
Stewart hit .156/.243/.221 in 122 at-bats for the Rockies in 2011 and .201/.292/.335 in 179 at-bats with the Cubs last year, but the hope is that the wrist surgery will allow him to turn his career around at age 27 next year.
Once considered one of the game’s top prospects, Stewart never met expectations in Colorado. Still, he wasn’t a complete bust, either, hitting .246/.334/.454 with 53 homers in 1,077 at-bats from 2008-10. As weak as the third-base market is this winter, it made more sense for the Cubs to give him another shot than it did to overspend for an outsider.
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.