Cliff Lee struggled in a minor-league rehab start Monday at Single-A, allowing eight runs and failing to make it out of the fifth inning as he comes back from elbow problems, but the Phillies have decided he’s ready to rejoin the rotation.
Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reports that Lee will come off the disabled list to start Monday against the Giants, in Philadelphia. It’ll be Lee’s first big-league start since May 18 and he told Salisbury: “I feel strong and I feel good and I’m ready to try to help the team win.”
At this point it seems pretty safe to assume that the Phillies would love to trade Lee and the $37.5 million remaining on his contract beyond this season, so there should be a ton of scouts in the crowd Monday night. He’ll have time to make two starts before the July 31 deadline, but because of his contract and the likelihood it’ll clear waivers the Phillies should be able to deal him in August without having their options limited.
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.