Coming off a disappointing 74-88 season, the Blue Jays are making some changes to their coaching staff.
The team announced this evening that hitting coach Chad Mottola and first base coach Dwayne Murphy will not be back next season. Murphy, who has been with the team since 2008 and also served as hitting coach from 2010-2012, is retiring as a major league coach.
Mottola was a first-time hitting coach in 2013 under John Gibbons. The Blue Jays finished eighth in the AL with 712 runs scored and ninth with a .729 OPS, which isn’t too far off from where they were last season. Ultimately, injuries and underperformance in the starting rotation were the biggest factors for them being unable to meet the billing as preseason favorites.
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.