The Orioles announced Thursday that corner infielder/designated hitter Pedro Alvarez has cleared waivers and been sent outright to Triple-A Norfolk. The veteran Alvarez would’ve had the right to reject that assignment in favor of free agency, though Dan Connolly of BaltimoreBaseball.com tweets that he has accepted the assignment and will remain in the organization.
Alvarez, 31, showed that he still has plenty of power in his latest run with the Orioles, swatting eight homers in just 127 plate appearances and notching an impressive .234 ISO. However, he remains strikeout-prone and posted just a .180/.283/.414 batting line on the season overall.
Baltimore actually used Alvarez at third base more than at first base in his latest run with the team, as an early injury to Tim Beckham created an opening at the hot corner. Manny Machado had been the team’s primary third baseman for years, of course, but he voiced a preference to move over to shortstop, his original position, following the departure of J.J. Hardy, and the organization accommodated that wish. Unsurprisingly, defensive metrics weren’t kind to Alvarez in his limited time at third base, though that was to be expected. The slugger drew poor ratings at third base even when it was his primary position, but he’d seen all of 53 innings at third over the past three seasons combined before lining up there in 2018.
Alvarez will remain on hand in Triple-A and could conceivably get a call to the big leagues again later this year. The O’s figure to be active sellers at this summer’s trade deadline and will need to plug some of the myriad holes created by trading away more productive veterans. Of course, the club may also want to fill those eventual vacancies with younger options than Alvarez, who’ll once again be a free agent at season’s end.