Scary news coming from the Rangers, as Drew Davison of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that reliever Tanner Scheppers was unavailable for last night’s game against the Indians after the 6-foot-4 right-hander was “sucker punched” by a group of males while walking in downtown Cleveland on Thursday night.
Scheppers said the incident occurred about two blocks from the team hotel as he was going to get something to eat. Nothing was taken from him and he has not filed a police report, though the Cleveland police are aware of the situation.
“One of those freak things,” Scheppers said. “I was just getting food and was blindsided. … It’s something you don’t want to be talking about. You want to be talking about baseball things.”
Scheppers suffered a laceration above his eye and a couple of cuts, but he passed all concussion tests. He is available for tonight’s game.
Scheppers has emerged as an important part of the Rangers’ bullpen this season, posting a 1.74 ERA and 32/17 K/BB ratio over 46 2/3 innings. He has held opposing batters to a .202 batting average.
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.