Whenever a team skips a young starter’s turn in the rotation it leads to questions about the health of that young starter, especially after the Cardinals did that with Michael Wacha last week while claiming they were simply giving him “rest.” And now he’s on the disabled list with a shoulder injury.
This time it’s the A’s giving 24-year-old Sonny Gray some extra time off between starts, with manager Bob Melvin telling Joe Stiglich of CSNBayArea.com that it’s merely “a little bit of a break” and nothing to do with any arm problems.
Oakland will restructure the rotation around a pair of off days and in doing so Gray will get nine days off between starts rather than the usual four.
Gray had a very impressive debut for the A’s last season and has picked up right where he left off this year, starting 15 games with a 2.91 ERA and 86/34 K/BB ratio in 99 innings. They’ve been relatively cautious with his workload by not letting Gray go past 115 pitches in any start and letting him top 110 pitches just once, but he has topped 100 pitches in five consecutive outings leading up to this extra time off.
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.