Believe it or not, the 2016 season was the first time Pedro Alvarez posted a slugging percentage over .500, which seems strange given that he's known for his power. He remains a three-true outcome player that can't hit lefties and can't play defense which limits his employment opportunities. He and his agent were hoping he could have a Nelson Cruz-like resurgence in Baltimore. While his slugging percentage has increased three straight seasons, he still carries quite a bit of risk. Given his issues against lefties, it is near impossible to roster him in mixed leagues making him an AL-Only power play with quite a bit of risk to the other scoring categories. Alvarez is also a notoriously slow starter which means he's usually available on the waiver wire if he's not drafted.
Alvarez patrolled the outfield during the Orioles' "B" game Friday, Jon Meoli of The Baltimore Sun reports. Alvarez made a dive on a sinking line drive to hold a hit to a single, while also hitting a home run and a double during the contest. The veteran is trying to expand his defensive horizons in an effort to make the major league club, though it's far from a guarantee that he'll stick on the outfield grass. Even with his flaws in the field and at the dish (career .238 average), that faint possibility of extra work and position eligibility gives deep mixed and AL-only fantasy players another reason -- on a trial basis -- to roster the slugger, who has launched at least 22 home runs in four of his last five seasons.
Alvarez agreed to a minor league deal with the Orioles on Saturday, Jon Heyman of FanRagSports reports. It marks the end of a long negotiation process between the two sides that carried over well into spring training. Interestingly, Alvarez will attempt to make the team as an outfielder, despite having never once played the outfield in the majors. If his defensive abilities appear adequate, he could earn some starts in left field against right-handed pitchers, but may also be able to make the roster as a bench bat, regardless of how he looks in the field. Alvarez has demonstrated he still has pop in his bat, smashing 22 home runs last season while serving mainly as the designated hitter. Expect him to report to spring training as soon as the deal is finalized.
Alvarez continues to hold out for a major league contract, FanRag Sports' John Perrotto reports. Alvarez had to wait until March 10 to sign last spring, and despite hitting .249/.322/.504 with 22 home runs in 109 games with the Orioles, the market for one-dimensional sluggers is clearly not what it was even a year ago. If Alvarez can land a deal to DH against righties, his massive raw power would make him appealing in deeper leagues, but it is also possible that he will have to swallow his pride and take a minor league pact.
Alvarez is out of the lineup Sunday against the Yankees, MLB.com reports. Alvarez will be on the bench for the fifth game in a row while the Orioles look to make outfield defense a greater priority by moving Mark Trumbo to DH to clear room for the speedier Michael Bourn in right field. A .208 average and three homers over 59 plate appearances since the start of September hasn't helped Alvarez's argument for a regular lineup spot.
Alvarez went 1-for-5 with a solo homer in Friday's 3-2 extra-inning victory over the D-backs. The veteran slugger broke the ice on a dismal offensive performance up to that point by taking reliever Enrique Burgos deep with a 407-foot shot to right in the eighth, kick-starting the Orioles' comeback. Despite the homer Friday and some modest success making hard contact during the month, Alvarez is struggling overall in September, as evidenced by his .195 average over 41 at-bats.