2:28pm: Feinsand tweets that the move won’t become official until tomorrow because the Sox are off today.
1:31pm: The White Sox have designated first baseman/designated hitter Yonder Alonso for assignment, Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reports (via Twitter). The team has yet to formally announce the move or a corresponding transaction.
The trade to bring Alonso to Chicago from Cleveland this offseason simply hasn’t panned out on any front for the White Sox. In 251 plate appearances, the 32-year-old slugger has struggled to a career-worst .178/.275/.301 batting line through 251 plate appearances with the South Siders. His acquisition was also portrayed as a potential means of swaying his brother-in-law, Manny Machado, to choose the ChiSox in free agency, but Machado ultimately went to San Diego, who topped the Sox’ reported offer by a hefty $50MM in guaranteed money.
Alonso is only two years removed from a breakout All-Star campaign in which he slashed .266/.365/.501 with a career-high 28 home runs. Alonso was one of the foremost examples of the “fly-ball revolution” that season, but this year’s 43.1 percent ground-ball rate is his highest mark since the 2016 season. His 37.7 percent fly-ball rate, meanwhile, is his lowest since that same year.
Alonso parlayed that breakout effort into a two-year, $16MM contract with the Indians. Viewed as a more cost-effective replacement for Carlos Santana (who they reacquired this winter), Alonso wasn’t able to replicate his 2017 production in Cleveland but still posted a respectable .250/.317/.421 line with 23 homers last year. The Indians spent much of the offseason working to shed salary and reduce payroll, though, and dealing Alonso to the division-rival White Sox was a part of those efforts.
Chicago will have a week to trade, outright or release Alonso, who is still owed about $5.13MM through season’s end (including the buyout on a 2020 option). That salary makes a release the most likely outcome. If Alonso is indeed cut loose, he’d become a free agent who can sign with any club and would only be owed the prorated portion of the league minimum through the remainder of the season. That sum would be subtracted from what the Sox still owe him.