Travis Hafner spent a decade in Cleveland. And, injuries notwithstanding, was pretty popular. Today the Yankees are in Cleveland for the Indians’ home opener. A few minutes ago, during pregame introductions, Hafner was politely applauded by the local fans, no doubt mindful of the good times they all used to have.
Then, just now, in the first inning of the game, Hafner launched a three-run homer off Ubaldo Jimenez. It just so happened to be his 100th career home run in Progressive Field. As he rounded the bases, boos could be heard.
Can’t go home again, I guess. But if you do, may as well hit a 400-foot bomb against your old mates to ease the pain.
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.