The Cleveland Indians search for a new first baseman didn’t take long. According to USA Today Sports’ Bob Nightengale, the Indians reached an agreement with veteran free agent Yonder Alonso on Wednesday.
The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports it’s a two-year deal worth $16 million. The deal includes an $8 million vesting option for a third year.
Source confirms Yonder Alonso will be the Indians' new first baseman, as @Ken_Rosenthal and @BNightengale said, on a two-year, $16M deal with an option for a third year. First-base market is getting interesting, with Eric Hosmer clearly best left and Logan Morrison clearly next.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 21, 2017
Alonso, 30, will fill the vacancy left by Carlos Santana, who signed a three-year, $60 million with the Philadelphia Phillies last week. The former first-round pick is coming off his best offensive season. He blasted a career-high 28 home runs after never reaching double digits in any of his first seven seasons. He slashed .266/.365/.501 while splitting time between the Oakland Athletics and Seattle Mariners.
Even with the power increase, which likely came from Alonso making a stronger effort to hit fly balls, he doesn’t have the same offensive upside as Santana. He’s not a great option against left-handed pitchers either, meaning the Indians might have to shift Edwin Encarnacion to first base and leave Alonso on the bench when facing a tough lefty.
Still, $8 million per season isn’t a steep price to pay assuming Alonso can carry over his success from 2017. Overall, Cleveland’s lineup still projects as one of the most dangerous in the American League. They will enter 2018 as the team to beat in the AL Central and a World Series contender under manager Terry Francona.
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