With the story out from Yahoo Sports that the White Sox had Jim Thome in their pitch to Bryce Harper last month, Chuck Garfien, Ryan McGuffey and Slavko Bekovic take a closer look at what it all means. What Thome might have said to Harper and why his words carry a lot of weight (3:45), what Michael Jordan and Jose Abreu have in common with the Harper situation (9:00), the Bryce Harper White Sox billboard Ryan wants to build in Chicago (18:10) it turns out Magic Johnson was not in the Dodgers pitch (22:40), how does Patrick Corbin signing with the Nationals affect the Harper sweepstakes? (24:50) and when will Harper sign? (32:00) and more.
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.