As expected, the Cleveland Indians have bid farewell to first baseman Yonder Alonso, who has been dealt to the Chicago White Sox in exchange for minor league outfielder Alex Call. This was all but inevitable after the Tribe traded for Carlos Santana and Jake Bauers — both of them first basemen — as part of a three-team deal earlier in the week.
Alonso’s tenure in Cleveland was brief and underwhelming. He was signed as a free agent after a surprising 2017 season split between Seattle and Oakland, during which he slugged a career-high 28 home runs and recorded a combined .266/.365/.501 slash. But as a member of the Tribe last season, Alonso saw his walk rate drop from 13.1 percent to 8.9 percent, contributing to a decline in his on-base percentage. He also flashed less power, failing to match his previous season’s home run total and instead seeing an increase in soft contact and infield flies.
Alonso was guaranteed $8 for million next season with a vesting option worth $9 million in 2020. The White Sox will now assume the entirety of that contract.
As for the newest member of the Indians’ organization, there isn’t much to report about Alex Call. The 24-year-old minor league outfielder was first selected by the White Sox in the third round of the 2016 MLB Amateur Draft. Last season, Call split time between Class A Advanced Winston-Salem and Double-A Birmingham, slashing a combined .248/.345/.415 with 12 homers.
With Alonso now headed to Chicago, MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince estimates that the Tribe front office has reduced their 2019 payroll by $18 million this offseason, affording them more flexibility to address deficiencies in the outfield and the bullpen.
This is also the latest in a series of moves by the front office designed to dramatically retool the Indians’ lineup. Of the eleven players who started at least one game of last October’s ALDS for Cleveland, only three remain on the roster as of right now: Francisco Lindor, Jose Ramirez, and Jason Kipnis. Michael Brantley, Josh Donaldson, and Melky Cabrera were free agents at the end of the season. The club declined the 2019 option for Brandon Guyer. Edwin Encarnacion, Yandy Diaz, Yan Gomes, and Alonso have all been traded.