Al Alburquerque has pitched well for the Tigers this season, posting a 3.14 ERA with 26 strikeouts in 14.1 innings, but his control has been an issue with 13 walks and after three straight outings allowing a run they’ve sent the right-hander back to Triple-A.
Spotty control is nothing new for Alburquerque, but his amazing bat-missing ability has always been enough to make up for it. He has a 1.90 ERA and 14.1 strikeouts per nine innings in 64 career appearances, so the demotion is certainly an eyebrow raiser.
No doubt manager Jim Leyland and company just got sick of watching him walk nine batters in his last six appearances, but Alburquerque against Triple-A hitters will just be unfair.
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.