The Yonder Alonso Vesting Option

With the promotion of Zack Collins, I think a lot of people thought that was the end of Yonder Alonso. But alas, he is still here. So let’s take a look at how is vesting option works and what may happen with him.

The Contract
In the off-season between the 2017 and 2018, Cleveland inked Alonso to a deal to replace Carlos Santana.

The deal was a 2 year deal with an option for a third year. Year 1 (2018) was $7M, year 2 (2019), and the option for year 3 (2020) is $9M. The option vests with 550 PA in 2019, but that doesn’t matter. The reason is that it can also vest with 1100 PA across 2018 and 2019. Since he had 574 PA last season, this option vests with 526 PA this year. Meaning, the White Sox would have to keep him or at the very least pay him $9M and tell him to get lost.

One thing to also be aware of is that if he does not reach 526 PAs, he doesn’t just vanish. Instead, the option becomes a team option. So the White Sox would have the choice to either pick up the option and retain his services or decline it and pay him a $1M buyout.

Will it vest?
Not long ago, it looked like this was definitely going happen. Yonder was playing every day and accumulating PA at a pace that would get him there. However, this has slowed. He’s at 236 PA as I am writing this. So he’s 290 short of the 1100 he needs. In a platoon situation, it will be hard for him to get that over the next 92 games. Injury is against him as well. Any IL stint will likely keep him from this number. Also, if he gets to the 1100 PA, but doesn’t pass the year end physical, the Sox can void the option. Unless Jose Abreu has an extended IL stint, I don’t see this option vesting. Man, I haven’t said “vest” this much since the 90s.

Why is he still here?
I can only speculate here, but I think part of this is that there is simply not an option at 1B they feel comfortable with. Abreu from time to time needs a day off and occasionally lands on the IL. Who will play 1B in that situation? Other than Alonso, the only guy I can see playing there would be Jose Rondon. I know we don’t want that. It’s possible that Collins will be that guy, but it’s also possible Alonso is here because he is the only current backup plan for a scenario where Abreu doesn’t sign here. This is definitely troubling for many reasons. It’s possible, they’re trying to use him as leverage to get Abreu to sign an extension or just as a fallback in case Abreu decides to go into free agency. Either way, that’s kind of sad. And for a team that prides itself on its prospect depth, it’s not good that they cannot find someone to replace Alonso.

Hopefully, this post looks ridiculous very soon when they release him.


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