In the winter of 2017, the Indians signed Yonder Alonso coming off a career year to replace the exiting Carlos Santana. Just a year later the Indians have returned to stasis with Santana in the fold as well as Jake Bauers and Bobby Bradley waiting in the wings; Yonder Alonso became an $8 million afterthought. Thus the Indians have traded Yonder Alonso to the Chicago White Sox.
In 2018, Alonso posted 23 home runs and struggled his way to a .317 OBP, More detrimental, Alonso was positively unplayable against left-handed pitching and created a dynamic lineup construction problem in the 2018 postseason. While the Indians gambled on Alonso’s launch angle gains being the basis of a stronger offensive profile; Alonso remained the limited platoon first baseman he always appeared to be with a mediocre glove tossed on top of that underwhelming pile.
First Yan. Then Yandy. Now Yonder. This opens up first base for Bauers. May open up more salary room to add a reliever or a bat. https://t.co/N6c265jTUH
— T.D. Dery (@TD1TribeKU) December 15, 2018
Perhaps more interestingly the Indians have rid themselves of individuals whose first names start with Y; if this is not the analytics revolution; I do not know what is.
HOLE UP what if this is a precursor to the Indians making a big signing. We’ve heard how they want to cut money, but with Alonso gone, they’re down to $91m projected after living at 124-134 the last two years, HUH. Could they be a mystery team on Harper?
— Eno Sarris (@enosarris) December 15, 2018
Eno one of the brightest analysts in baseball is being a bit playful but the Indians current flexibility following an Alonso deal is striking. They are well positioned with a few major free agents off the board. Arbitration push the budget to roughly $105 million but this provides flexibility of close to $25 million; perhaps more.
While the return is yet to be reported the potential surplus value on Yonder Alonso is nearly non-existent so a simple salary dump plus a minor prospect the essence of the deal.
Hearing the Indians will receive a prospect in return. Official announcement likely tomorrow.
— Zack Meisel (@ZackMeisel) December 15, 2018
The Indians have chosen an aggressive tact and the rest of the offseason will be fascinating; the below best summarizes.
Waiting for Alonso deal to be confirmed but an aggressive offseason centered on reshaping the secondary talent around Lindor/Ramirez/Carrasco/Bauer/Clevinger/Hand/Bieber is fun as hell when you are in command of your division.
— Mike Hattery (@snarkyhatman) December 15, 2018
The Indians still have the advantage of immense rotational advantage which includes elite trade assets in Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer; with increased financial flexibility and monster assets the potential for an improved bullpen and outfield at the cost of rotation strength is on the table. Tonight, in a small deal, the Indians offseason became a whole lot more fascinating.