Free agent infielder Pedro Alvarez reportedly has a minor league contract in place with the Orioles, per Tommy Stokke of FanRag Sports. Jon Heyman adds that the terms of the deal include a $2 million salary with up to $3.5 million in incentives.
Alvarez, 30, batted .249/.322/.504 with 22 home runs and an .826 OPS during his initial run with the Orioles in 2016. He primarily served as the team’s designated hitter and occasional third baseman, though Heyman reports that the deal could be contingent on a switch to the outfield in 2017. Alvarez hasn’t played the outfield in any of his seven major league seasons, but has been developing his skills there over the last 3-4 months and could compete against fellow outfield candidates Chris Dickerson, Craig Gentry, Logan Schafer and Aneury Tavarez for a backup role this spring.
The deal has yet to be confirmed by the team.
The Red Sox are the latest team to extend the protective netting at their ballpark this winter. According to a statement by club president Sam Kennedy, the exact dimensions of the netting have yet to be determined, but it will likely stretch “all the way to Field Box 79, down the left field line and then all the way down to almost Canvas Alley in the Field Box 9 area.”
Fenway Park received additional protective netting prior to the 2016 season, when the netting behind home plate was lengthened to the home and visitor dugouts. Per Kennedy’s statement, the current expansion should cover everything but the outfield corners, making it nearly impossible for a line drive foul to reach fans in the lower boxes.
After a toddler sustained serious injuries from a 105-MPH foul ball to the face at Yankee Stadium last September, over half of all MLB teams decided to take more extreme preventative measures in advance of the 2018 season. The Brewers, Cardinals, Braves, Astros, Royals, Pirates, Rangers, Padres, Nationals, Mariners, Phillies, Mets, Reds, Blue Jays, Giants, Yankees, Twins and Indians are among the organizations to address the issue over the last several years, while others have yet to take significant action.