Feb. 26: Baltimore has announced the signing.
Feb. 25, 10:30am: Alvarez will earn a $1MM salary and have a chance at $2MM in performance bonuses if he makes the Orioles, according to Rich Dubroff of PressBoxonline.com (Twitter link).
Opt-out opportunities are available on May 15th and July 15th, per Bob Nightengale USA Today (via Twitter).
This is the third straight year in which the Orioles have signed Alvarez, who performed well in 2016 (.249/.322/.504 with 22 home runs in 376 plate appearances) but was a non-factor at the big league level last season. The left-handed Alvarez totaled just 34 PAs with the Orioles and spent nearly all of the year at Triple-A Norfolk, where he hit an underwhelming .239/.294/.442 with 26 HRs in 595 PAs.
Alvarez tried to help his cause in 2017 by working in the outfield, but he’ll return to a first base/designated hitter role this year, per Britt Ghiroli of MLB.com (Twitter link). The Orioles are already set at those spots with Chris Davis and Mark Trumbo, respectively, leaving little hope that Alvarez will crack their roster, as Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun notes on Twitter. As such, if the 31-year-old Alvarez remains with the organization into the season, he’s likely to function as minor league depth for the second straight campaign.
Earlier in his career, it would’ve been unimaginable for Alvarez to end up in a minor league role. The 2008 second overall pick was one of the top prospects in baseball with the Pirates, though he never developed into the offensive force he was supposed to become and has struggled in the field at both third and first base. Overall, Alvarez has slashed .238/.311/.449 (107 wRC+) with 154 home runs and 7.4 fWAR across 3,194 major league PAs.