We’ve seen a rash of pitchers going down to Tommy John surgery this year. Just last week the foremost practitioner of the dark art of ligament reconstruction surgery — Dr. James Andrews — opined that this increase is due to the fact that young kids are throwing harder and throwing more often than they should be, and by the time the reach the pros, their elbows’ fates have already been sealed.
This is sobering news for anyone trying to build a pitching staff, but it is going to make Tommy John surgery an increasingly common fact of life in the coming years. And, in case you were fuzzy on what it entails, allow me to explain it to you in 30 seconds:
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.