As expected Trevor Bauer’s latest call-up was short-lived, as the Indians demoted the top prospect back to Triple-A after he threw five shutout innings against the Phillies last night in a spot start.
Bauer was very tough to hit and flashed dominant raw stuff, but walked six of the 21 batters he faced and needed 93 pitches to record 15 outs. All of which is basically the story of his career at this point (along with rapping badly and the Diamondbacks souring on him almost immediately).
Bauer has held big-league hitters to a .185 batting average through six starts, racking up 24 strikeouts in 26.1 innings, but he’s also handed out 26 walks in those 26.1 frames. In the minors the former No. 3 overall pick has walked 4.1 per nine innings, including 41 walks in 100 innings at Triple-A. Bauer has No. 1 starter upside and plenty of time to reach it at age 22, but the inability to throw the ball over the plate is keeping him from sticking in the majors.
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.