The Rangers sign J.R. Towles from independent ball

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J.R. Towels was a backup catcher for the Astros for a few years, with his last big league action coming in 2011. He was stuck in the minors for 2012 and 2013 went off baseball’s grid and into independent ball this season, where he’s played for the Bridgeport Bluefish of the Atlantic League. He’s heading back to affiliated ball now, however, as the team announced that his contract was purchased by the Texas Rangers. He will report to Triple-A Round Rock.

Towles played in 67 games for the Bluefish in 2014, hitting 11 home runs with 37 RBI and holding a .292 batting average. He was also named to the Atlantic League All-Star team.

Guys often head down to the independents for chances like this. They don’t come too often. Good to see someone making the move back to affiliated ball like Towels is.

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.