CHICAGO – It was a different time, and a different place, but Yonder Alonso’s outlook was pretty much the same.
Acquired by the White Sox in a Dec. 15 trade with the Indians, Alonso was peppered with questions about his brother-in-law – Manny Machado – as he spoke on a conference call from his offseason home in Miami.
Alonso arrived in Chicago on Thursday for this weekend’s SoxFest at the Hilton Chicago, and after shaking off the chill, he called season-ticket holders at Guaranteed Rate Field.
Afterward, the first baseman/designated hitter met with reporters and answered more questions about Machado, a prized free agent the Sox still are trying to sign.
“I think it’s the elephant in the room, no question about it,” Alonso said.
When pressed about the highly skilled elephant, Alonso sounded a lot like he did in December – cautiously optimistic.
“Just taking it day-by-day,” Alonso said. “I let those things and his family take care of those things. I give him that privacy. He deserves that, and we all as a family deserve that as well to respect his decision not only with himself but with his wife.
“Other than that, we’re looking to have some surprises and maybe he will be my neighbor.”
That is the optimism coming through again, and with spring training opening in less than three weeks, Machado finally should be getting close to making a decision. The Phillies and Yankees stack up as the Sox’s main competitors for Machado, but other teams also might be in play for the four-time all star.
Machado is married to Alonso’s sister, and the two are offseason neighbors in Miami.
“The future is bright for him and his family,” Alonso said. “And like I said, he might be my neighbor [in Chicago].”
In addition to being fired up by that possibility, Alonso is thrilled the Sox signed free-agent outfielder Jon Jay to a one-year contract Jan. 10.
“We have another guy that I grew up with as well, Jon Jay,” Alonso said. “I think it’s going to be amazing to have him. I played with him in college and high school, and now we get to play in the big leagues together. Obviously with Manny, there’s a little bit of a difference. He’s definitely family and a member of my family.”