Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports reported on Wednesday that the Indians have signed free agent first baseman Yonder Alonso. According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, it’s a two-year, $16 million deal with a vesting option for a third year.
Alonso, 30, had a career year in 2017, batting an aggregate .266/.365/.501 with 28 home runs and 67 RBI in 521 plate appearances between the Athletics and Mariners. He became one of the poster children of the fly ball movement, as he hit balls in the air at a 43.2 percent clip in 2017, around 10 percent higher than his career average coming into the campaign. Alonso had never hit more than nine home runs in a season coming into the year, so the Indians are hoping his performance is sustainable.
The Indians needed to fill the void at first base left by Carlos Santana, who signed a three-year, $60 million contract with the Phillies. Edwin Encarnacion will continue to start at DH for the most part.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts confirmed it in March and he confirmed it again on Tuesday: Clayton Kershaw will start on Opening Day, Jorge Castillo of The Los Angeles Times reports.
The Dodgers are one of four teams that will open the 60-game regular season schedule on July 23; everyone else begins play on the 24th. With a 10 PM ET start, the Dodgers will host the Giants at Dodger Stadium.
Johnny Cueto will likely pitch opposite Kershaw for the Giants. Cueto was named the Giants’ Opening Day starter on March 11, before the league shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic. Manager Gabe Kapler hasn’t yet officially named an Opening Day starter for the makeshift season.
Kershaw, 32, made the Opening Day start eight consecutive times for the Dodgers from 2011-18. Hyun-Jin Ryu, now a Blue Jay, pitched on Opening Day last season for the Dodgers. Last year, Kershaw logged 178 1/3 innings over 28 starts and one relief appearance, his highest innings total since 2015. He went 16-5 with a 3.03 ERA, 189 strikeouts, and 41 walks.