In the wake of David Ortiz’s retirement, the Red Sox have cast a wide net in their search for a designated hitter and now have interest in free agent DH/corner infielder Pedro Alvarez, reports FanRag’s Jon Heyman.
Boston is familiar with Alvarez, who spent the 2016 season with the AL East rival Orioles. The powerful Alvarez hit .249/.322/.504 with 22 home runs in 376 plate appearances with Baltimore, and recorded the majors’ 20th-highest ISO (.255) among those with at least 350 PAs.
Before joining the Orioles on a $5.75MM deal last winter, Alvarez spent the first six years of his career in Pittsburgh, but he only became a Pirate after electing against signing with the Red Sox in 2005. Back then, Boston used a 14th-round draft pick on Alvarez, who instead chose to play college baseball at Vanderbilt. That proved to be a wise move, as Alvarez ended up going second overall in the 2008 draft on the heels of a stellar college career.
As a member of the Pirates, Alvarez batted .236/.309/.441 in 2,784 trips to the plate in parts of six seasons and finished with at least 25 homers in three different campaigns. The lefty-swinging Alvarez had serious trouble with southpaw pitchers in Pittsburgh, though, which was also the case last season. Since he cracked the majors in 2010, lefties have held the 29-year-old Alvarez to a .205/.271/.334 line in 605 PAs. Notably, in-house Red Sox DH candidate Pablo Sandoval has also fared poorly against lefties during his career. However, Boston does have southpaw-mashing outfielder Chris Young on hand as a potential platoon partner for either.
Aside from Alvarez, other available DH types who have drawn Boston’s interest this offseason include Edwin Encarnacion, Matt Holliday and Mike Napoli. The Red Sox are likely out of the Encarnacion sweepstakes because of a reluctance to spend past the $195MM luxury-tax threshold, though.