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.
No surprise here: The Astros are headed back to the postseason to defend their title following a landslide 11-3 win over the Angels on Friday. This figures to be their third playoff run since 2015, though they have yet to wrap up the AL West with a division title.
First baseman Yuli Gurriel led the charge on Friday, smashing a grand slam in the first inning and tacking on a two-run homer in the second and RBI single in the fifth to help the Astros to a seven-run lead. The Angels eventually returned fire, first with Mike Trout‘s 418-foot homer in the sixth, then with an RBI hit from Francisco Arcia in the seventh, but they couldn’t close the gap in time to overtake the Astros.
On the mound, right-hander Gerrit Cole clinched his 15th win of the year after holding the Angels to seven innings of three-run, 12-strikeout ball. His sixth strikeout of the night — delivered on an 83.1-MPH knuckle curveball to Kaleb Cowart — also marked the 1,000th strikeout of his career to date. He was backed by flawless performances by lefty reliever Tony Sipp and rookie right-hander Dean Deetz, both of whom turned in scoreless innings as the offense barreled toward an 11-3 finish with Jake Marisnick‘s sac bunt and George Springer‘s three-run shot in the eighth.
Despite having qualified for the playoffs, the Astros still carry a magic number of 6 as they look to clinch a third straight division title. They’re currently up against the Athletics, who entered Friday’s contest against the Twins just four games back of first place in the AL West.