After spending much of the offseason trying to add another outfielder such as Dexter Fowler or Austin Jackson, the Orioles have called an audible to add another left-handed bat to the 2016 mix.
According to multiple outlets, the club agreed to a one-year, $5.75 million contract with former Pittsburgh corner infielder Pedro Alvarez. Of course, the deal is pending a physical.
Given the 29-year-old’s well-documented defensive limitations at both first base and third base, the Orioles are expected to make Alvarez their designated hitter with Mark Trumbo likely serving as the primary right fielder. The move certainly adds more power to a lineup that was already strong in that department, but how much it might negatively impact the defense with Trumbo in right is a fair question.
Alvarez, the second overall pick of the 2008 draft, has hit 27 or more home runs in three of the last four seasons. In 150 games for the Pirates last year, he hit .243 with 27 homers, 77 RBIs, and a .787 on-base plus slugging percentage.
His best season came in 2013 when he clubbed 36 homers and drove in 100 runs to make the All-Star team, but Alvarez is also prone to striking out and led the NL with 186 strikeouts that season. Unlike new teammate and the strikeout-prone Chris Davis, however, Alvarez doesn’t show good patience at the plate and has drawn no more than 57 walks in a season.
Despite Alvarez being under club control for the 2016 season, the Pirates elected not to tender him a contract in December, making him a free agent.