CHICAGO – In the offseason, Yonder Alonso and Manny Machado live two blocks apart in Miami.
In the regular season, Alonso would be thrilled with a similar arrangement in Chicago.
Acquired by the White Sox on Friday in a trade that sent minor league outfielder Alex Call to the Indians, Alonso took part in a conference call Monday.
There was a question or two about joining the Sox and his fit with the lineup, but Alonso was bombarded with inquiries about Machado, his brother-in-law.
Machado is married to Alonso’s sister. Along with Bryce Harper, he is the prized commodity in this year’s free agent market.
“We’re definitely very close,” Alonso said. “I think it would be very, very nice to also be neighbors on the South Side. I know he’s very excited for me; his whole family is very excited for me.
“He’s going to do his thing. He’s going to obviously do what’s best for his family. But we all understand, we’re a very tight family and we definitely would like to, obviously myself … maybe in the future play alongside each other.”
The Sox met with Harper in Las Vegas before the winter meetings, and Machado was spotted visiting Guaranteed Rate Field on Monday afternoon.
The day after acquiring Alonso, Sox general manager Rick Hahn denied the move was made to help lure Machado.
“Fundamentally, this is a baseball deal,” Hahn said. “We feel this makes us better. 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.”
The Sox are the first team Machado is expected to visit this week, with the Yankees and Phillies reportedly also on the list.
If the Sox and Machado are a match, the already upbeat Alonso will be walking on air.
“I definitely want him to be my neighbor, I’ll tell you that,” Alonso said. “I want him to be by my side. We have a really close relationship, but again, I know he is going to do his thing and make his own decision.”
Machado, a 26-year-old third baseman/shortstop, is a lifetime .282/.335/.487 hitter with 175 home runs and 513 RBIs in 926 games.
A two-time Gold Glove winner, Machado combined to slash .297/.367/.538 with 37 homers and 107 RBIs in 162 games with the Orioles and Dodgers last season.
An obvious talent, Machado’s work ethic and sportsmanship were questioned during the playoffs after he didn’t run the bases hard and was held to a single on a drive hit off the wall in Game 3 of the World Series.
In the National League Championship Series, the Brewers’ Christian Yelich called Machado a “dirty player” after he made contact with Jesus Aguilar at first base.
“Obviously, given the playoff situation, it was a little bit overblown,” Alonso said. “We’re looking at a player, a family person, a player that wants to be better every single day, a guy that pushes everybody. This guy shows up every day.
“He gives it everything he’s got, and at the end of the day, it’s about wins, wins, wins, wins. That’s all he wants.”