HOUSTON (AP) Philip Humber and J.A. Happ each had a strong start and a shaky finish Wednesday. Both starting pitchers are looking forward to the regular season, too.J.D. Martinez hit a two-run homer and Brian Bogusevic added a solo shot for the Houston Astros, who played the Chicago White Sox to a 5-5 tie on Wednesday in the final exhibition game for both teams.Humber pitched four scoreless innings before Jose Altuve's run-scoring double and Martinez's drive put Houston up 3-2 in the fifth. Humber allowed three runs and five hits with five strikeouts in five innings."Especially early on, I felt like I had my good stuff going and everything was working," he said. "Toward the end, I felt like I was getting a little jumpy and I started rushing my delivery. But overall, I was very pleased with how this spring went."Happ gave up two runs and four hits while walking two in five innings for Houston.Gordon Beckham and Alejandro De Aza hit back-to-back doubles to give the White Sox a 2-0 lead in the fifth."Things were moving and breaking and responding well, and that was a good feeling," Happ said. "It's a good sign, and it feels good to throw strikes and feel good with the pitches."Chicago's Jared Mitchell hit a tying solo homer off Kyle Weiland in the seventh inning. Weiland, who earned a spot in Houston's rotation this spring, allowed a spring-high seven hits with three runs in two innings.Both teams are off Thursday before opening the season Friday. Houston hosts the Colorado Rockies and the White Sox face the Rangers in Arlington.Alexei Ramirez had an RBI triple and Kosuke Fukudome singled in run to help the White Sox take a 4-3 lead in the sixth inning.Houston catcher Jason Castro, who returned this spring after missing the entire 2011 season with a knee injury, had two hits. He is happy with his offensive work this spring, but was more excited about the progress he's made behind the plate."We have a few new guys and I've been working on building those relationships with them," he said of the new pitchers. "That was a big thing for me this spring was getting to know them and getting to know their strengths. I think we've learned each other quickly this spring and it'll only get better as the season gets going."Bogusevic's homer came in the sixth, and Chris Johnson doubled and scored on a wild pitch later in the inning.Houston center fielder Jordan Schafer started for the second straight day after missing more than two weeks with a sprained left hand. Schafer, Houston's leadoff hitter who hit .379 this spring, was replaced by a pinch hitter in the eighth and looks to be on track to start on Friday.NOTES: The Astros finalized their 25-man roster when RHP Henry Sosa cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A Oklahoma City and they purchased the contract of OF Travis Buck. ... The Astros are still hopeful that SS Jed Lowrie will be able to start on Friday. He has been out since March 28 with a strained right thumb, but manager Brad Mills said he has been feeling much better the last couple of days.
After a lot of rumors and not many moves at the Winter Meetings, the White Sox made a notable trade after everyone left Las Vegas.
The White Sox traded for first baseman Yonder Alonso from Cleveland. The team announced the move on Saturday.
“Alonso provides a proven offensive performer from the left side of the plate and he also brings a veteran presence both on and off the field,” White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said in a press release. “Yonder has a solid reputation around the league as a professional and a great teammate.”
Now that the trade is official, one thing worth noting with Alonso is that he is the brother-in-law of Manny Machado. This is after the White Sox were reportedly set to meet with Machado next week.
Value-obsessed baseball teams do not think like this, but it would be interesting if a Manny Machado suitor traded for his brother-in-law, #Indians 1B Yonder Alonso, who now figures to be highly available. Alonso would amount to a $9M enticement, but who’s counting?— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 13, 2018
Outside of his connection to Machado, the trade is an odd fit without the context of the entire offseason yet. Alonso is 31 and coming off a bit of a down year by his standards. He hit .250/.317/.421 with 23 home runs and 83 RBIs last season with the Indians. The year before that he was an All-Star for the first time in his career while splitting the season between the Mariners and A's.
However, Alonso's 83 RBIs in 2018 were a career high. He is under contract for $8 million in 2019 and has a $9 million option (that includes a $1 million buyout) for 2020.
The intriguing part of this is that it brings into question Jose Abreu's future with the White Sox. There have been rumors about the Cuban first baseman potentially being involved in a trade this winter. Alonso's addition means something has to give with the first base/DH situation. After non-tendering Matt Davidson because he fell behind Abreu and Daniel Palka as players who only fit those two spots, adding another in Alonso wouldn't make sense unless Abreu or Palka are on the move.
USA Today's Bob Nightengale said that the White Sox have no intention of trading Abreu, for what it's worth.
Jose Abreu is staying in Chicago. The #Whitesox have no intention trading him— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) December 15, 2018
The Winter Meetings didn't bring a resolution to either the Bryce Harper or Manny Machado free agency sagas.
That means we're still waiting on any bit of news to figure out what is going on. The latest, from 670 The Score's Bruce Levine, is that the White Sox plan to meet with Machado next week.
According to Levine, Machado will meet with at least six teams next week. Previously, it was reported that Machado had interest from the Yankees, Phillies and White Sox and three mystery teams. For now, it appears those mysters teams are still just that.
When the White Sox made their pitch to Harper, Jim Thome was reportedly involved. Will they go to the well with Thome again or have a different pitch for Machado?
Positionally, Machado could be more of a need for the White Sox, but that all depends on how the White Sox would shift bodies on the infield around if Machado joins.