Cardinals backstop Yadier Molina is scheduled to undergo knee surgery sometime next week, per Brian Stull of St. Louis Baseball Weekly. The procedure, described as a “cleaning” of the knee, is expected to be relatively minor and should have Molina back on his feet again within several weeks.
The 36-year-old catcher doesn’t have a lengthy history of knee issues. He underwent a medial meniscectomy on his right knee back in 2007 and has missed a few days here and there with soreness and inflammation, but doesn’t appear to be facing anything serious enough to compromise his availability in spring training or his upcoming season in St. Louis.
While the Cardinals stumbled to a third-place finish within the NL Central in 2018, Molina turned in another All-Star performance for the team. He completed his 15th campaign in the majors with a .261/.314/.436 batting line, 20 home runs, a .750 OPS, and 2.2 fWAR through 503 plate appearances. The veteran catcher saw a marked improvement from the offensive totals he posted in 2017, but was unexpectedly sidelined for the month of May after taking a 102-MPH foul tip to the groin and undergoing emergency pelvic surgery.
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.