The White Sox had a busier weekend than I expected, with Manny Machado meetings coming up this week and the Winter Meetings just wrapping up the White Sox made 2 deals. They added catcher James McCann, a former Tiger, who got a team friendly one year 2.5 million dollar contract. They also added Yonder Alonso from the Indians for Alex Call, a prospect who plays Right Field and whose star has fallen off in recent years. You may have also heard that Alonso is is the brother in law of one of the biggest free agent prizes, Manny Machado.
Looking first at McCann, we see a 28 year old catcher who seems to be the second catcher on the active roster. He made his MLB debut in 2014 and has been a career .240 hitter coming off of a down year in 2018 for the Tigers, slashing .220/.267/.314 in 118 games. His power numbers were down hitting only eight home runs but has had some pop in his bat hitting 12 and 13 home runs in 2016 and 2017, respectively. McCann is also a solid defensive catcher. Since 2015, he has ranked third or better in the American League in throwing out runners, finishing second in 2016-18. McCann can also control the game defensively game, his 36.8 caught stealing percentage is third best by active catchers, trailing only Yadier Molina (40.7 percent) and Martin Maldonado (37.6).
Next we will discuss the addition of Yonder Alonso, a first baseman who played 2018 with the Indians. Last year the 31 year old slashed .250/.317/.421 with 23 home runs in 145 games. He will be splitting time with Jose Abreu at first. Abreu, historically not a fan of the DH, was asked about the move and acquiesced because he was happy to see Alonso join the team. Alonso has an 8 million dollar salary hit for 2019 and a 2020 hit of nine million with a one million dollar buyout the 2020 contract is guaranteed if passes a postseason physical, and gets 1,100 at bats between 2018 and 2019. When asked about the trade having the potential to lure Machado to the Southside, Hahn responded saying “We like how Yonder fits in between the lines and in the clubhouse, and helps further what we’re trying to accomplish in 2019 and beyond. The potential ancillary benefits to it in terms of his relationships with others really can’t be part of pulling the trigger in making the decision to acquire a big league player, especially a veteran one with this type of contract commitment.” Bob Nightengale reports that the White Sox have no intention on trading Jose Abreu, so it seems as the two will coexist at the first base and DH role as Jose goes into his last year of team control.
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