Right-hander Henderson Alvarez is in the process of signing on with the Phillies, according to Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (Twitter links). It’s a minors pact that would pay Alvarez at a $750K annual rate for any time he spends in the big leagues this year.
Alvarez turned in a 2.65 ERA over 187 innings back in 2014, earning an All-Star nod and Cy Young consideration, but has battled significant shoulder injuries ever since. Two surgeries and extensive rehab has kept him from pitching in the majors since early 2015.
The righty put on a showcase earlier this summer in hopes of landing an opportunity, but ended up settling for a shot with the indy ball Long Island Ducks. He has made seven starts this year, working to a 3.09 ERA in 32 frames. Alvarez also managed only 13 strikeouts against 14 walks in that span, though his health is surely more important than the results at this point.
Heyman does note that Alvarez has been clocked at up to 98 mph with his fastball. That would appear to suggest that he has at least regained any lost arm strength. Alvarez sat between 94 and 95 with the heater for most of his time in the majors, but had suddenly dropped to the low nineties in his four starts before hitting the DL back in ’15.
The Phillies could simply like the idea of bolstering their depth down the stretch, but the club may see a larger opportunity here, too. By giving Alvarez a chance at a late-season MLB platform, the Phils will also be getting an up-close look at the potential reclamation candidate. And Alvarez can still be tendered arbitration one final time, giving the team an option to retain him for 2018.