A month after calling up Nick Franklin from Triple-A to take over as their starting second baseman the Mariners are calling up Brad Miller to take over as their starting shortstop.
Miller was crushing the ball for Tacoma, hitting .356 with six homers and a 1.022 OPS in 26 games following a promotion from Double-A and the 2011 second-round pick has hit .334 in 219 career games as a pro. Defensively there have been questions about whether he’s capable of sticking at shortstop, so Seattle will be taking a huge hit there by playing him over slick-fielding Brendan Ryan. Of course, Ryan has a .196 batting average this season after batting .194 last year.
Franklin has fared very well in the early going, hitting .287 with an .832 OPS through 28 games at age 22, and now the Mariners will give the 23-year-old Miller a chance to be his long-term double-play partner.
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.