Milwaukee first basemen have hit .188 with four homers and a .521 OPS this season, which is what happens when you primarily use light-hitting middle infielders like Alex Gonzalez and Yuniesky Betancourt there, but help is on the way.
Adam McCalvy of MLB.com reports that Corey Hart, who’s been sidelined all season following January knee surgery, has started traveling with the team in preparation for a minor-league rehab assignment in the not-too-distant future.
Hart is eligible to return from the 60-day disabled list tomorrow, which obviously isn’t happening, but the impending free agent told McCalvy that he’s “pretty close” and mostly just “waiting for the running stuff to get better.” Of course, “the running stuff” is sort of important even if Hart has been fine taking batting practice and fielding grounders.
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.