After more than a month of continued symptoms and multiple setbacks the Twins have shut down Joe Mauer for the season due to the concussion he suffered on August 19.
General manager Terry Ryan told reporters today that Mauer has been making progress recently and the shut down wasn’t caused by a setback, but with only a week remaining in the season the Twins simply felt there was no point to bringing him back.
As a Twins fan that makes plenty of sense to me, although unfortunately as the team learned from Justin Morneau’s concussion comeback a few years ago taking an entire offseason to rest doesn’t necessarily mean the symptoms won’t return once the baseball activities start up again.
Mauer was having one of his typical seasons before the brain injury, hitting hitting .324 in 113 games and throwing out 43 percent of steal attempts. In his absence Josmil Pinto and Chris Herrmann have been splitting time behind the plate and Mauer’s future position defensively will be an offseason-long topic of debate in Minnesota.
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.