Pedro Alvarez Gives the O’s More of the Same

Pedro Alvarez of the Pirates does his home run trot.

Late Monday evening, the Orioles agreed to terms with slugger Pedro Alvarez on a one-year deal, pending a physical. Should the former 2008 second overall pick pass the Orioles’ always rigorous physical, Alvarez will make $5.75 million in 2016, with the potential for an additional $1.25 million in incentives, per reports from Jon Heyman and others.

After being spurned by Dexter Fowler last week, and missing out on Austin Jackson to the Chicago White Sox (the Orioles reportedly offered more money but Jackson wanted to play center field), the Orioles were known to still be looking for another bat to add to the lineup, namely a left-handed hitting outfielder. The most popular rumor was a potential trade for Reds outfielder Jay Bruce. This signing should put an end to those talks.

The signing of Alvarez has been met with mixed emotions across Birdland, and rightfully so. On the one hand, the Orioles have added more power to what was already considered one of the most powerful lineups in all of baseball. Below is a potential Opening Day lineup (career highs for HR in parentheses):

Manny Machado (35)

Hyun-Soo Kim (28 in KBL)

Adam Jones (33)

Chris Davis (53)

Mark Trumbo (34)

Matt Wieters (23)

Pedro Alvarez (36)

J.J. Hardy (30)

Jonathan Schoop (16)

This lineup could make a serious run at the 1996 Orioles team-record of 257 HR, and the 1997 Seattle Mariners MLB record of 264 HR. Should the starting nine match their career highs, the team would hit 288 HR in 2016 before even talking about the bench players.

As exciting as those numbers are, we may need to curb our enthusiasm a bit. Hardy, for example, doesn’t even have 20 HR combined over the last two seasons. It is unlikely he sniffs 20 HR this year, let alone 30. Hyun-Soo Kim still has yet to record a hit in the Grapefruit League (0-18 as I file this entry), so expectations for him to match his KBL numbers in any category should be tempered.

One cause for concern is the high level of strikeouts this lineup could carry. The starting nine alone is projected for well over 900 strikeouts, if you add up the projections on baseball-reference.com (there are no projections for Kim, but the other eight batters project for 888 Ks).

Another cause for concern is what this “addition” means for the defense. The Orioles may hide Alvarez’s glove in Sarasota, as he should rarely–if ever–play the field. But as it stands now, the everyday right fielder is Mark Trumbo. This is good news for Rule V pick Joey Rickard, who now stands to make the team as a defensive replacement, but it’s bad news for a team counting on a collective bounce-back season from the starting rotation to help them return to the playoffs. A mid-tier rotation needs all the help it can get from its defense.

While the infield defense should still be exceptional, the Orioles have an unknown in left field with Kim, and a liability in right with Trumbo. Even if they decide to move Davis to right on occasion, that weakens the infield defense, as Davis is the superior defensive first basemen to Trumbo. On the other hand, Nelson Cruz played the majority of games in left in 2014, and that team won 96 games.

Look, we all know that chicks dig the long ball; just ask Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine…

This team should hit about 250 of them. But none of these sluggers can pitch (insert Chris Davis joke), and the defense is taking a hit with the acquisition of Alvarez, even if he never plays the field. At the end of the day, the team and the fans are left with one question: does this player make this team better? It may be awhile before anybody knows.

This entry was posted in Blog View, Featured by Paul Valle. Bookmark the permalink.

About Paul Valle

Paul Valle
Paul Valle is a Baltimore native who has always had a passion for baseball. But his passion goes beyond the average spectator. Paul has been studying baseball--specifically the Orioles--since his youth. He not only appreciates the on field play, but the strategy and statistics behind it. Paul obtained a Bachelor...more

One Cheer about “Pedro Alvarez Gives the O’s More of the Same

  1. avatarO'sFan on said:

    Alvarez doesn’t help where the Orioles need help. OBP, RF and SP are the weakest spots. On the other hand, Alvarez would be bat come the trade deadline that could fetch some decent prospects in return to help build up the farm. But God willing the Orioles are making a division run in late July.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Hot off the street

Thursday Thoughts: Winning Streak Shouldn’t Change “Selling” Mindset
Thursday Thoughts: Winning Streak Shouldn’t Change “Selling” Mindset

This is a weekly column that dives into some random thoughts about the Orioles/MLB. I used to do eight as a nod to Cal Ripken Jr. This year, I’ll be cutting it down to four or five, so consider it t...read more

Wednesday’s O’s Links: Rockies Interested in Gausman & Bundy
Wednesday’s O’s Links: Rockies Interested in Gausman & Bundy

The last two nights have been a nice little reminder that baseball can indeed be fun. Now the worry is, of course, that they'll also fool the owner into thinking this team has the potential to keep wi...read more

Series Preview: Orioles (42-49) vs. Rangers (45-46)
Series Preview: Orioles (42-49) vs. Rangers (45-46)

After getting swept and embarrassed by the Cubs in their own house over the weekend, the Orioles will be looking to shrug it off and quickly bounce back over their upcoming four-game set versus the Te...read more

The Rundown: What Can the O’s Get for their Relievers?
The Rundown: What Can the O’s Get for their Relievers?

After being swept over the weekend by the Chicago Cubs and another series in which their starting pitching was embarrassed, it appears the Orioles are one step closer to throwing in the towel for the ...read more

Week(end) in Review: Mid-July Massacre
Week(end) in Review: Mid-July Massacre

If there were still any of you out there who were as optimistic about our chances of turning it around in the second half as I was, you're probably pretty bummed on this dreary Monday morning. Bumm...read more

View More