Pedro Alvarez’s deal with Orioles worth up to $7 million

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Pedro Alvarez and the Orioles made their one-year deal official today in a press conference. Alvarez will get $5.75 million in guaranteed money, plus another $1.25 million in potential incentives based on playing time that start accumulating once he surpasses 350 plate appearances.

Given that Alvarez figures to be platooned at least somewhat and may not start interleague games in NL ballparks a reasonable projection of 500 plate appearances would earn him $6.55 million in total. Not a bad payday considering Alvarez made $5.75 million with the Pirates last season and was non-tendered because Pittsburgh didn’t want to pay him an estimated $8 million via the arbitration process.

Alvarez is expected to serve as Baltimore’s starting designated hitter, bringing his 30-homer power to a lineup that projects as perhaps the most powerful in all of baseball this season. In fact, if Alvarez, Chris Davis, Manny Machado, Adam Jones, Mark Trumbo, and company simply produce like they have in past seasons the Orioles might be the first MLB team since 2010 to hit 250 homers.

Evan Gattis says he is ‘done playing’ baseball

Evan Gattis
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In a recent appearance on the 755 Is Real Podcast, hosted by The Athletic’s David O’Brien and former Braves reliever Eric O’Flaherty, catcher Evan Gattis confirmed he is “done playing” baseball. Gattis said back in October that he didn’t have any desire to continue playing the game, so this news comes as no surprise.

Gattis, 33, hit .226/.284/.452 with 25 home runs and 78 RBI for the Astros in 2018. The Astros did not extend him a qualifying offer, then $17.9 million. Though reporting on specific offers is scant, it is hard to imagine he received zero offers, or would have received zero offers if he were still interested in playing.

Gattis has one of the more interesting stories out there. He was a well-regarded college baseball prospect, but he battled anxiety and substance abuse. He checked into rehab and, temporarily, abandoned his baseball-related pursuits. Gattis eventually resumed playing college baseball but suffered an injury, prompting him to drop out of college. He went on to take on some not-so-glamorous jobs, including working in a pizza shop, as a parking valet, a ski-lift operator, and a janitor. Gattis battled more mental health issues, suffering from insomnia and depression, resulting in suicidal ideation. He checked into an inpatient psychiatric ward for several days. Afterwards, Gattis roamed around the west coast, going from Colorado to New Mexico to California to Wyoming.

In 2010, Gattis returned to baseball, playing for the University of Texas of the Permian Basin. He performed rather well, resulting in his being drafted by the Braves in the 23rd round that year. He worked his way through the minors quickly, debuting in the majors in 2013. The rest, as they say, is history. Gattis retires with a career .248/.300/.476 batting line along with 139 home runs, 410 RBI, and 299 runs scored over 2,662 trips to the plate.

The story of Gattis is an important one because mental health in general was not taken seriously, especially among men. It still isn’t, to a large degree, but it’s better now than it was 10 years ago. Due to social taboos and gender norms, men are much less likely to seek help for mental health issues. That Gattis — a burly avatar of testosterone — was willing to be vulnerable about his struggles with his mental health was important.