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 Giants placed outfielder Hunter Pence on the 10-day disabled list with a right thumb sprain, per an official announcement on Friday. Pence initially sustained the injury during the club’s home opener on April 3, when he dove to intercept a line drive double from Robinson Cano and jammed his thumb. Weeks of playing through the pain hasn’t worked, so he’ll take a breather while the Giants give outfielder Mac Williamson a chance to start in left after getting called up from Triple-A Fresno.
Pence, 35, wouldn’t pin his recent struggles on his injury, but it’s clear that he’s having difficulty finding his footing this year. He slashed a meager .172/.197/.190 through 61 plate appearances in 2018, collecting just one extra-base hit and two walks during the Giants’ dismal 7-11 stretch. While it’s far too early in the season to make any final judgments, it doesn’t look like the veteran outfielder will be replicating the .275+ average, 4.0+ fWAR totals of years past (at least, not anytime soon).
Williamson, meanwhile, has gotten off to a hot start in Triple-A. Prior to his call-up this weekend, the 27-year-old batted an incredible .487/.600/1.026 with six home runs and a 1.626 OPS through his first 50 PA. A hot Triple-A bat doesn’t always survive the transition to the majors, but the Giants will use all the help they can get — especially as they take on the AL West-leading Angels this weekend.