Alvarez was already pitching for the club’s Triple-A affiliate and will remain there, as the club didn’t announce a corresponding move. The outright, then, was likely little more than a matter of timing. With the lefty struggling considerably in Tacoma — he’s issued six walks, hit three batters and committed a balk in 6 2/3 innings — the Mariners look to have seized the moment to create some additional roster flexibility. This week’s acquisition of Roenis Elias may have contributed to the move as well; had they outrighted Alvarez earlier, they’d have been without any lefty relief options on the 40-man roster in the upper minors.
The 29-year-old Alvarez is a veteran of parts of four big league seasons, during which time he’s pitched to a 5.06 ERA with terrific strikeout numbers (11.4 K/9) against some control issues (4.1 BB/9, 1.88 HR/9) in a total of 48 innings. He’ll continue to serve as a depth piece for the Mariners, should the need arise, though Elias has clearly leapfrogged him on the depth chart.
Seattle’s 40-man roster is currently at a total of 38 players, so there’s room for the M’s to make some additions — be they internal adds to the 40-man or some claims on the waiver wire.