CLEVELAND (AP) — The Cleveland Indians have made another offseason move, trading first baseman Yonder Alonso to the Chicago White Sox.
Cleveland gets 24-year-old outfielder Alex Call in a deal made official Saturday. Call has yet to make his major league debut. The Indians also rid themselves of Alonso’s entire $8 million salary for 2019.
It’s been a busy week for the three-time AL Central champions, who traded slugger Edwin Encarnacion and infielder Yandy Diaz and re-acquired first baseman Carlos Santana in a three-team trade on the final day of the winter meetings in Las Vegas.
“We’ve had a couple of goals going into the offseason and that’s foremost trying to make sure we have a team that’s capable of winning the American League Central in 2019 but also position the organization for sustained success beyond that,” Indians president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti said. “There are a couple ways to do that. One is to infuse young, controllable talent into the organization. The second element of that is to manage our finances. We feel like the series of moves we’ve made up to this point advances both of those goals.”
Cleveland may not be done. The club has considered trading either ace Corey Kluber or All-Star Trevor Bauer. The Indians have outfield needs and are looking to rebuild their bullpen.
Alonso batted .250 with 23 homers and 83 RBI in his only season with the Indians, who signed him as a free agent last December.
It was the first trade between the AL Central rivals in more than two decades, and it could have broad implications for the rest of the offseason.
“We haven’t aligned on trades for a variety of reasons, but this was one of those instances where what they were seeking to do aligned with what we were seeking to do,” Antonetti said.
Chicago already has Jose Abreu at first base, but he played in just 128 games last season because of injuries and could see more time at DH with the addition of Alonso. The 31-year-old Alonso also is married to the sister of star slugger Manny Machado, a rumored target for the White Sox in free agency.
Alonso was selected by Cincinnati in the first round of the 2008 amateur draft and broke into the majors with the Reds in 2010. He is a .265 hitter with 90 homers and 389 RBIs in 951 games with Cincinnati, San Diego, Oakland, Seattle and Cleveland.
“We envision both he and Abreu getting the bulk of the at-bats between the first base and the DH spots through the course of the season. How exactly that breaks down in the end will be a managerial decision,” White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said, adding that Alonso and Abreu are friends and Abreu was excited about the deal.
Alonso’s contract includes a 2020 club option at $9 million with a $1 million buyout. The option becomes guaranteed if Alonso has 550 plate appearances next year or 1,100 in 2018 and ’19 combined, and he passes a physical at the end of next season.
“We certainly feel like it improves us in 2019 and like the potential of having him around in 2020 as well,” Hahn said.
The 24-year-old Call played for Class-A Winston-Salem and Double-A Birmingham last season, batting .248 with 12 homers and 58 RBIs in 123 games. He was selected by Chicago in the third round of the 2016 draft out of Ball State.