Orioles players excited to add former Pirate Alvarez to roster
SARASOTA, Fla. — Like most everyone else, Baltimore Orioles pitcher Vance Worley discovered he was Pedro Alvarez's teammate again through Twitter.
Late Monday night, it got out that Alvarez agreed to a one-year, $5.75 million contract with the Orioles, pending a physical.
The deal was not yet official when players arrived at the clubhouse Tuesday morning and Alvarez might not be formally introduced by the team until Thursday. Yet, everyone already was talking about him.
“I've been trying to keep tabs on him and I got the news through social media, of course,” said Worley, who played with Alvarez the past two seasons with the Pirates. “I was surprised he lasted as long as he did (as a free agent), but I'm glad these guys pulled the trigger to get him.”
Alvarez, 29, had been in limbo since the Pirates non-tendered him in early November. Despite his enormous power — he hit 27 home runs last season and led the National League with 36 in 2013 — Alvarez's defensive deficiencies scared off many teams.
“He's a great clubhouse guy, so I think he'll fit in really well with these guys,” Worley said. “Obviously, he's got a bat and the more pop we have in the lineup, the better.”
The Orioles' lineup already was dangerous with sluggers Adam Jones, Chris Davis, Mark Trumbo and Manny Machado. Alvarez will make things even trickier for opposing pitchers.
“It would be tough (to face), and not just because of the power,” Davis said. “I think there's good balance, right- and left-handed. It's going to be fun to see what this lineup can do.”
Utility infielder Ryan Flaherty became close friends with Alvarez during their playing careers at Vanderbilt University. The Pirates drafted Alvarez second overall in 2008 and Flaherty went to the Chicago Cubs 39 picks later that year.
“I'm sure it was hard on Pedro, sitting around at home when spring training was starting,” Flaherty said. “He's excited about coming here. We'll see how it plays out.”
Trying to keep pace in the rugged American League East, the Orioles will push their payroll above $150 million by adding Alvarez. Davis, who returned to Baltimore this winter on a seven-year, $161 million deal, is pleased that management continues to add to the roster.
“That's kind of the goal,” Davis said. “You want to exhaust every option you have. We like the guys we have in here right now, but if there's a guy who can help us out, I don't see any harm in adding him. As long as there's time left to make your team better, you want to do everything you can.”