The Baltimore Orioles brought back one of their power hitters from last season Pedro Alvarez, the team announced today. Alvarez will be coming back with a little bit of a twist, it is a minor league deal with incentives and he will be an outfielder.
Last season, Alvarez hit 22 home runs with a .249 average and 20 doubles in only 379 at bats. Alvarez was the designated hitter for the Orioles for 85 starts and started six games at third base. In only six starts at third base Alvarez committed four errors, with a very low .556 fielding percentage. Alvarez has a strong arm but that is the only plus side on his defensive side of the game. In an emergency Alvarez can play third base or first base but he really is just a pure hitter. In today’s game pure hitters even while good hitters have trouble finding jobs. The days of a pure designated hitter are a thing of the past with David Ortiz retiring this winter.
The Orioles have a number of capable outfielders on their roster including Adam Jones, Mark Trumbo, Hyun Soo Kim, Joey Rickard and Seth Smith. The Orioles traded for Seth Smith this offseason and is an experienced out fielder. Jones, Trumbo and Kim are locks that will get the majority of the playing time. Rickard showed great promise last season as a potential leadoff hitter until he was injured. Rickard plays great defense and has a lot of range. Alvarez is a better offensive player than Smith and Rickard but Rickard is the only player on the Orioles that can play Centerfield other than Jones.
At Alvarez’s best he is a good power hitter who can hit home runs and doubles. Alvarez’s best season came in 2013 when he batted 36 home runs and made the All Star game.
Alvarez will be developing into a corner outfielder and will likely start in the minors while he learns the position. I think Alvarez is a good signing for the Orioles as it is a low cost high reward potential deal. Alvarez can still hit 20 to 30 home runs and has huge power. As long as Alvarez plays serviceable defense he can be an asset to the team.
Here is the Orioles tweet confirming the transaction.
— Baltimore Orioles (@Orioles) March 13, 2017