The good news is that Jonny Venters’ trip to see Dr. James Andrews hasn’t resulted in elbow surgery.
The bad news is that Andrews injected Venters’ elbow with platelet-rich plasma and the Braves left-hander has been shut down for four weeks.
Mark Bowman of MLB.com reports that Venters would then begin a throwing program, which likely means he’s at least six weeks away from potentially getting back on a mound and seemingly rules him out for all of April and May.
Atlanta has the bullpen depth to handle Venters’ absence, but he’s definitely a huge loss after posting a 2.23 ERA and 258 strikeouts in 230 innings through his first three seasons. During that three-year span Venters made 230 appearances, which was the second-most in baseball.
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.