Today is the deadline for exchanging arbitration figures

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We’ve seen a lot of “Team and Player agree to one year deal, avoiding arbitration” stories in the past few days and we’ll see many more today. The reason: today is the deadline for all arbitration-eligible players and their teams to exchange salary figures.

For those who forgot or never knew, the arbitration-eligible players say they’re worth $X. The teams says they’re worth $Y, with $X and $Y being set as of today. If they can’t agree to a deal between now and their arbitration hearing date — with the hearings taking place in mid-February — the arbitration panel will pick one of the two numbers. There is no in between.

Even if there is no agreement before 1pm today, most players and teams will still nonetheless come to an agreement avoiding an arbitration hearing. In negotiated cases, yes, the sides can agree on a number between the player’s and the team’s. More often than not these cases result in agreements at around the mid-point between the player’s number and the team’s number.

Some teams, however, are what they call “file and trial” teams, meaning that as a matter of team policy, they will not negotiate after arbitration figures are filed this afternoon, preferring to let the arbitrators sort it out.  For them, today is the drop-dead day. If they don’t hammer out a deal with their players, they are going to an arbitration hearing. In the past, file-and-trial teams have included the White Sox, Marlins, Rays and Braves.

Anyway, that’s what’s happening with all of these arbitration-avoiding deals today. If it bores you, you’re not alone. It kinda bores us too. But it also means that we’re one more step closer to actual baseball being played.

Report: White Sox acquire Yonder Alonso from Indians

Yonder Alonso
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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.