The Orioles finally got ... well, not exactly an outfielder, but they got somebody on Monday night. That would be Pedro Alvarez, who they have signed pending physical and assuming there is not a surprise decision for Alvarez to return to his old team. We can't be too sure of anything any more this offseason.
MLB Network's Joel Sherman was the first to report on the terms of the deal, which will cover one year for $5.75 million in guaranteed money, with up to $1.5 million worth of performance bonuses for the 29-year-old Alvarez. Those bonuses are typically for plate appearances reached; when the exact numbers are revealed you'll probably be looking at something like $500,000 for 500 PA, another $500,000 for 600 PA, and again for 700 PA - or something of that sort.
So unless there are any surprises, Alvarez will be an Oriole. Now here's the thing: What the heck do they need with Alvarez? The guy is a career .236/.309/.441 hitter, a lefty slugger who basically has one thing going for him, which is namely that he has hit 27+ home runs in three of the past four seasons.
As you'd expect for a left-handed batter whose listed weight on Baseball Reference is 250 pounds ... well, actually, he isn't horrid against lefty pitchers, or at least he wasn't in 2015 with a .258/.292/.419 batting line. OK, it's a horrid on-base percentage, but that's the game with Alvarez. It looks like the Pirates tried their best to completely hide him against lefties, as he only recorded 65 PA.
For all that the O's and O's reporters keep trotting out that the O's need a lefty to balance out their lineup, the team already has a number of righty batters who are better against righty pitchers. They were collectively a disaster against left-handed pitching last season despite a righty-heavy lineup. Alvarez added to the roster will set up a similar situation.
The good news is, if you're going to completely stink against one hand of pitcher, it might as well be lefties, because there are fewer of them out there.
Also, Alvarez is horrible defensively, like -14 runs by Defensive Runs Saved as a first baseman, which is actually really hard to do. Designated hitter, surely... right? They couldn't possibly have any designs of him playing the field... could they? They wouldn't do that to us.
Oh, and you already know he strikes out like a bazillion times. He struck out 131 times in 491 PA - that's a 26.4% strikeout rate, actually one of the lower numbers of his career. Alvarez will take a walk a decent amount of time, just about 10% in three of the last four seasons, but his batting average is just so horrible that it even a 10% walk rate only gets his OBP just so high.
It'll be like having Mark Reynolds all over again, except this time mashing taters onto the short porch in right field. I do like taters.
It must be so nice to be as rich as a baseball owner so you've just got $7 million burning a hole in your pocket that you've just got to spend on a guy who doesn't really fit a ton on your baseball team. That's the good life right there. Must be pretty nice to be Alvarez too, clearing $5.75 in guaranteed salary after being worth 0.1 fWAR the previous season.
Is Mark Trumbo going to play in right field? Is Chris Davis? I don't know. There's three-plus weeks left to worry about all of that stuff.
Put him at designated hitter, bench him against every lefty, and let him never play the field. Then every opposing pitcher will be pitching in the dark for the entirety of the season. The dingers will blot out the sun.