CLEARWATER, Fla. - About an hour before the football world learned last Tuesday that the Eagles were trading running back LeSean McCoy, a 27-year-old infielder in the Phillies' farm system had heard about the deal.
Carlos Alonso couldn't tell anyone when his younger brother Kiko, 24, told him over the phone he was moving to Philadelphia. By that night, news of the deal was everywhere.
Kiko, Carlos said, is excited to be reunited with his college coach, Chip Kelly. The pending trade between the Eagles and Buffalo Bills is expected to be completed Tuesday when the new league year begins.
"He's always raved about how Chip Kelly runs his practices," Carlos said before a spring training workout in Phillies minor league camp. "There's a familiarity with the routine there and he's comfortable with it. They run high-intensity practices and he likes that. He's a sideline-to-sideline-type linebacker, so he's excited about that."
Carlos said the Alonsos, like most everyone else, were surprised by the trade - "It was definitely out of left field," he said - but the brothers look forward to living close to each other for parts of their respective seasons.
Carlos will likely start this baseball season in double-A Reading or triple-A Lehigh Valley. He spent last year at Reading, where he hit .272 while splitting time between second and third base.
The Alonso brothers trained together this past offseason in San Ramon, Calif. Kiko, who missed last season because of a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, "looks great" and is "ahead of schedule," according to his brother.
"He's just a guy who's going to give you 100 percent effort," Carlos said of Kiko, named the NFL defensive rookie of the year in 2013 by the Pro Football Writers Association. "He just doesn't stop. He'll run through a brick wall for you. He just loves to hit people, sticks his nose in there. [Eagles fans are] just going to see a very passionate linebacker running sideline to sideline."
The brothers attended Los Gatos High School in the Bay Area. Carlos played baseball at the University of Delaware. Kiko played football, of course, at Oregon.
But when they were growing up, the roles were somewhat reversed. Carlos stood out at linebacker. Kiko, always the big kid, was the power-hitting first baseman.
"It's funny how it happens because I was probably the more natural football player and he was the more natural baseball player growing up," Carlos said. "For me, tackling just came easy and [for] him hitting a baseball came really easy, too. He was a phenomenal baseball player.
"But he ended up being 6-4, 240 pounds and I stayed about 6-foot, so I think we both followed our paths based a little bit on that."