White Sox

White Sox acquire first baseman Yonder Alonso from Indians

White Sox acquire first baseman Yonder Alonso from Indians

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.

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.

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The learning process continues for Dylan Cease, who just had 'my best start of the year'

The learning process continues for Dylan Cease, who just had 'my best start of the year'

Dylan Cease's ERA is still north of 5.75.

He's not a finished product, no matter how much anyone wants him to be one.

"It would be ideal for me — and my ability to sleep — and everyone’s mood if these guys came up and dominated immediately," White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said Thursday. "In reality there is a little bit of a learning process that goes on."

All these results, the ones that have contributed to that ugly ERA and some generally ugly outings over Cease's first couple months in the major leagues, are learning moments. Not convinced on the effectiveness of those learning moments? Just look to Lucas Giolito, who took all the struggles he had in 2018 and turned them into an All-Star 2019 season in which he's blossomed into the ace of the staff.

But, despite the hype, these guys aren't coming up finished products.

Cease, though, has flashed the potential that has earned him all that hype, and in no outing did he flash more of it than he did in Friday night's start against the visiting Texas Rangers.

Following the theme that seems to be developing in Cease starts, he had a pretty lousy inning early in the game, in this case the very first inning, in which he served up a three-run homer. The theme continues, though, that Cease usually uses all that composure and maturity everyone's always raving about to settle down and pitch a decent game. Friday night, he was more than decent. After the first inning, Cease retired the next 11 batters he faced and allowed just two hits (both singles) over five scoreless innings.

Cease, following in the tradition of perfectionist pitchers everywhere, hasn't been happy with previous outings that followed a similar script. This time, he was pleased. Maybe something to do with the career-best nine strikeouts.

"To me, that was just a huge confidence boost right there. Now I just need to not let those big innings happen," Cease said. "That's definitely my best start of the year today, besides that first inning."

"You had a couple of things going on," manager Rick Renteria said. "He had a rough first, we scored some runs, he holds them. We scored some more runs, he holds them. He kept doing that throughout. It's a big push. You see, there's a confidence-builder in that particular outing today. He should be happy how he ended up redirecting himself and righting the ship."

Cease's ability to do just that, right the ship, might give him a bit of a head start on his developmental process at the major league level. After all, Giolito and James McCann talk frequently about that issue plaguing Giolito in 2018. When things went wrong early, Giolito couldn't get back on track. He's been able to this year, contributing to his success. If Cease can do that from the day he hits the majors, that's a plus.

And if that's a tool Cease already has in his tool box, then the next step would be eliminating those early troubles. As good as Cease has looked at times, those numbers aren't lying. He's given up 32 earned runs in his 50 big league innings. He's given up 11 home runs in nine starts and has yet to have an outing without allowing a homer. Walks have been a sporadic issue: He walked just one batter in each of his last two starts but walked five in the outing prior and has three starts this year with at least four walks.

Again, learning process.

"His stuff is — it's electric stuff," Renteria said. "Sometimes you wonder, 'How can they hit him?' or 'How can they do this?' It's just (that they are) big league hitters. You leave something out over the plate or something they can manage, and they're going to do what they can do with it.

"As long as he continues to execute and use that stuff that he has, he's going to be OK."

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Baseball Night in Chicago Podcast: It's Elvis night on the South Side

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USA TODAY

Baseball Night in Chicago Podcast: It's Elvis night on the South Side

Scott Podsednik and David DeJesus join Leila Rahimi on Baseball Night in Chicago to discuss all things baseball.

They talk Yoan Moncada's comeback, Eloy Jiménez's injury, the Cubs' continuing bullpen struggles and more.

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below: