Mariners re-sign Sweeney to minor-league deal

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Seattle has re-signed Mike Sweeney to a minor-league contract after the 36-year-old veteran hit .281/.335/.442 in 76 games as a part-time designated hitter while battling back problems last season.
Sweeney is still a decent threat against left-handed pitching, but he’s no more than an emergency option at first base defensively, can’t even stay healthy starting at DH a few times per week, and hasn’t cracked an .800 OPS since 2005 despite rarely facing tough right-handers.
Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times reports that he’s unlikely to make the Opening Day roster, so it’ll be interesting to see if Sweeney is willing to put in some time at Triple-A in an effort to extend his career to a 16th season. Sweeney and Ken Griffey Jr. would make a productive platoon at DH, but not good enough to devote two rosters spots to the elderly combo.

Orioles designate Pedro Alvarez for assignment

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The Baltimore Orioles are terrible and going nowhere fast, so they decided to do some shuffling of the decks today.

One part of that was to called up catcher Caleb Joseph, which was the corresponding move to sending down Chance Sisco the other day. Joseph will now be big league teammates with brother Corban. Aww.

Another thing they did was to purchase the contract of Steve Wilkerson from Triple-A Norfolk. He’s a utility guy who has been swinging a hot bat after getting a late start to the season due to a 50-game drug suspension. Good for him, but that’s bad news for Pedro Alvarez, who was designated for assignment in the corresponding move.

Alvarez, 31, started the season well but has been atrocious for most of it. His line on the year is .180/.283/.414 with eight homers, but he’s been far worse than that for over a month. The 2013 NL home run champ will now go through waivers and, at the end of that process, likely have to choose between free agency or a trip to Norfolk. And, given that it’s the worst team in baseball sending him packing, there’s a good chance that it could be the end of the big league road for him.