The Yankees, Royals and Marlins are among the teams that have scouted a recent throwing session from right-hander Henderson Alvarez, The Athletic’s Marc Carig reports while chronicling the 29-year-old’s latest comeback efforts. Alvarez has frequently taken to social media to post clips of his workouts and bullpen sessions, and he’s drawn at least a few speculative scouting assignments, although obviously no deal has come together yet. If or when he does sign, it’d surely be on a minor league pact.
Since being named to the NL All-Star team as a 24-year-old back in 2014, Alvarez has thrown just 37 innings in the Major Leagues and 116 1/3 innings of affiliated ball in the minors. He’s also tallied 165 1/3 frames in the Mexican League. Alvarez underwent shoulder surgery in both 2015 and 2016 — the effects of which have largely derailed what looked to be an otherwise promising career. However, he remains motivated to return to the big leagues, telling Carig: “I know I can still give more.”
Alvarez did pitch in affiliated ball last year, throwing 53 innings with the Nationals’ Triple-A club. Like most pitchers in Triple-A — the Pacific Coast League in particular — he was plagued by home runs, serving up 15 long balls en route to a 5.94 ERA. After being cut loose by the Nats, Alvarez returned to Mexico to make six starts for los Tigres de Quintana Roo. In 34 2/3 innings, he logged a 3.12 ERA with a 23-to-5 K/BB ratio and a 57.6 percent ground-ball rate. He closed out the season with a complete-game victory wherein he allowed one run.
The Yankees have lost Luis Severino for the season (Tommy John surgery) and James Paxton for more than a month of the regular season (back surgery), so it’s only natural to see them at least exploring depth additions in the rotation. At the moment, it looks as though Jordan Montgomery will take the fourth spot behind Gerrit Cole, Masahiro Tanaka and J.A. Happ. The competition for the fifth spot includes Luis Cessa, Jonathan Loaisiga, Mike King and Chad Bettis, among others.
The Royals, meanwhile, don’t have a defined fifth starter, and club decision-makers have been open about the possibility of bringing in a veteran option even as they allow their plethora of highly regarded young arms to compete for that starting job. Brad Keller, Danny Duffy, Jakob Junis and Mike Montgomery should hold down the top four spots. The competition for the team’s fifth starter presently is vast and could ultimately be a revolving door early in the year if the club opts to use an opener. Jesse Hahn, Eric Skoglund and Chance Adams are among the names on the 40-man roster vying for a look. Top prospects Brady Singer, Daniel Lynch and Jackson Kowar could all be factors eventually as well.
Rotation help isn’t as needed in Miami, where the Marlins have a wealth of controllable options with MLB experience who’ll comprise one of the game’s youngest starting staffs. Sandy Alcantara, Caleb Smith, Pablo Lopez, Jose Urena and Jordan Yamamoto have the most experience, and the wave of high-end arms immediately behind them includes the likes of Sixto Sanchez, Nick Neidert and Edward Cabrera. But Alvarez’s lone All-Star season in ’14 came as a Marlin, and a comeback with the Miami organization would make for a compelling storyline in South Florida.