Ian Kinsler signs with San Diego
It was a fairly quiet day around the league on Friday, but one of the 2018 Red Sox players did get signed. That would be Ian Kinsler, one of the very few departing free agents who had no chance at coming back to Boston. Instead, he’ll head back to Southern California after signing a two-year deal with the Padres. This was actually a little surprising. Like I said, there was no way he was going to come back to Boston. With Dustin Pedroia hopefully being able to play at second base, they didn’t need another veteran like Kinsler. Furthermore, he looked like he was toast for his tenure with Boston. Because of that, I figured he’d get a one-year deal with maybe some sort of option for a second year. Instead, the Padres guaranteed a second year, which is even more surprising because they have one of the most exciting up-and-coming double play combinations in Fernando Tatis Jr. and Luis Urias. It seems, if things go according to plan, Kinsler will be a utility guy in the near future.
Orioles hire Brandon Hyde as manager
The Orioles are coming off an absolutely disastrous 2018, and in the process lost their General Manager and their on-field manager. They replaced the former earlier in the winter and have taken their time with the latter. This is an important hiring for Baltimore. Obviously they aren’t going to be winning any time soon, but the new manager will be charged with implementing the right attitude through the clubhouse. Ultimately, the man for the job is going to be Brandon Hyde. The Orioles officially hired the Cubs bench coach as their manager on Friday. I won’t pretend to know what to expect from the new AL East foe, but Baltimore can at least move forward now.
White Sox trade for Yonder Alonso
The Indians have been very active over the last couple days, particularly involving first basemen. On Thursday, to conclude the Winter Meetings, Cleveland shipped out Edwin Encarnacion to Seattle in exchange for Carlos Santana. That left Yonder Alonso without a clear spot, and now he is being sent to another AL East team. The White Sox completed the trade with their division rival and likely won’t be sending anything more than a fringe prospect back in the deal. Chicago now has another solid bat as they look like they could be a surprise contender in 2019 with an up-and-coming roster and as possible favorites for Bryce Harper and/or Manny Machado. Cleveland, meanwhile, has one of the best rosters in baseball and yet continues to slash payroll. Fun!
White Sox sign James McCann
The White Sox made another smaller move on Friday, signing James McCann to serve as a backup to Welington Castillo. Clearly, this isn’t the most exciting move but it does have some marginal effect on the Red Sox. This takes one more backup catcher off the market, and when that market dries up teams will turn to Boston’s trio of backstops. The sooner that happens, the sooner the trade market for the Red Sox can heat up.