Two seasons removed from a career-best 28 home runs, Yonder Alonso found himself briefly out of the game after he was released by the White Sox despite the fact they were on the hook for an $8 million salary in 2019. The White Sox also had an option on a $9 million salary with a $1 million buyout.
The Rockies decided to take a peek. It isn't going to cost much. He was signed to a minor-league deal and assigned to AAA Albuqeruque, where he went 1-for-4 in his Isotopes debut in Thursday's 9-8 win at El Paso (Padres).
Alonso had a sacrifice fly in the first-inning of his debut with Albuquerque, and then walked and scored a run as a part of an eight-run Isotopes rally in the second inning at El Paso.
The Rockies are obligated to a pro-rated portion of MLB minimum $550,000 if he gets called up, the White Sox responsible for the rest of the salary.
It is an interesting decision in light of the fact Alonso is a left-handed hitter, and the Rockies already have a left-handed hitter at first base, Daniel Murphy, who was signed to a two-year contract for an annual guarantee of $12 million as a free agent in the off-season.
It has been a struggle for Alonso before his release. He was hitting .178 with seven home runs in 251 plate appearances with the White Sox.
Alonso originally signed with the Reds in 2008, and made his big-league debut with Cincinnati in limited appearances in 2010-11 before being dealt to the Padres prior to 2012, where he established himself as a big-league regular. Traded from the Padres to the A's in advance of the 2017 July 31 trading deadline, he became a free agent after the season, and signed a two-year, $16 million contract with the Indians that included a $1 million buyout on 2020.
The White Sox dealt a minor-league player to the Indians for Alonso in December, and assumed his full contract.
In Thursday's Games:
AAA Albuquerque (38-53) won 9-8 at El Paso (Padres). The Isotopes scored once in the first inning, eight times in the second inning, and held on. Yonathan Daza (.380) was 3-for-5 with with two doubles, two runs scored and an RBI. Drew Weeks (.244) hit his seventh and eighth home runs, driving in five runs. Tim Melville (5.29) worked three scoreless innings and then gave up four runs while retiring two batters before being relieved. Sam Howard (2-1, 4.10) worked 1 1/3 innings for the win, and DJ Johnson (6.67) earned the save with a scoreless ninth in which he walked three batters and struck out one.
AA Hartford (9-11, 46-41) lost 13-8 against New Hampshire (Blue Jays). Manuel Melendez (.261) was 3-for-5 with a double, run scored and two RBI. Ty Culbreth (3-8, 4.42) started and allowed four runs, one earned, on one hit and two walks, striking out two.
Advanced A Lancaster (13-9, 47-43) won 11-10 vs. Stockton (A's). Luis Castro (.302) went 3-for-4 with his 20th home run and two RBI. Ramon Marcelino (.212) went 3-for-3 with his 12th home run, two doubles and two RBI.
A Asheville (10-11, 39-52) lost 6-2 against Greenville (Red Sox). Shelby Lackey (3-9, 5.68) allowed three runs on four hits and three walks, striking out five in five innings, Terrin Vavra (.323) was 2-for-4 with a run scored.
Short Season A Boise (13-14) lost 3-1 against Hillsboro (D-backs). Joe Aeilts, the Rockies 14th-round draft choice out of Illinois State in June, was 2-for-2, raising his average to .439). Fifth-round pick Will Ethridge (0-1, 9.00) suffered the loss, allowing all three runs in the second inning of his two-inning, three-hit, three-run effort in which he walked one and struck out one.
Advanced Rookie Grand Junction (14-11) won 8-2 against Great Falls (White Sox). Jack Yalowitz (.225), the Rockies 10th-round choice out of Illinois, was 3-for-5 with two doubles, a three-run home run and three runs scored. Anderson Amarista (1-2, 5.70) allowed one run on three hits, striking out six in six innings.