Orioles 1B/OF Pedro Alvarez has an opt-out clause in his minor league contract set for June 1. The Orioles and Alvarez have reached a “temporary resolution” to keep Alvarez at Triple-A Norfolk, Dan Connolly of Baltimore Baseball reports. Specifics of the “resolution” are not yet known.
Alvarez, 30, is hitting .223/.296/.456 with 12 home runs and 39 RBI in 230 plate appearances with Norfolk this season. He hasn’t appeared in the majors yet this season.
Last season, in 376 major league plate appearances with the Orioles, Alvarez hit .249/.322/.504 with 22 home runs and 49 RBI. While the Orioles’ bench this year hasn’t been anything to write home about, there isn’t much opportunity to give him regular, meaningful at-bats, which is why the Orioles have kept him at Triple-A.
You hear a lot about pitchers tipping pitches. It’s often offered up post-facto as an excuse for poor performance by the pitcher himself or his own team. It’s sort of like the “best shape of my life” thing being offered in the offseason to talk about why the player got injured or played badly the previous year. “Smitty’s stuff is still great, he was just tipping his pitches,” said a source close to the player whose stuff is not really great anymore.
Which isn’t to say that pitchers don’t tip pitches. Of course they do. Opposing teams look for it, pick up on it and take advantage of it whenever they can. It’s just that (a) the opposing team has an interest in not talking about it, lest the pitcher STOP tipping its pitches; and (b) the guy actually tipping his pitches doesn’t want to talk specifically about it lest he starts doing it again.
Which is what makes this article at Sports Illustrated so interesting. In it Tom Verducci talks to an anonymous Houston Astros player who explains how Dodgers starter Yu Darvish was tipping his pitches during the World Series, leading to him getting absolutely shellacked in Games 3 and 7. The upshot: the Astros knew when a slider or a cutter was coming, they waited for it and they teed off.
Darvish is a free agent now. I’m guessing, whoever signs him, knows exactly what they’ll gave him work on the first day of spring training.