The Orioles had a reported deal with Dexter Fowler fall through last month, but they’ve now landed the left-handed hitter they coveted. Late Monday evening, news broke that Pedro Alvarez had agreed to terms on a one-year, $5.75 million contract (with $1.25 million more available in incentives) with the O’s.
From an offensive standpoint, Alvarez looks like a great fit for Baltimore and a good get this close to Opening Day. The hulking slugger obviously has his flaws, having been non-tendered by the Pirates over the winter after batting .243/.318/.469 with 27 homers and 77 RBI last season. He’ll strike out a bunch and won’t get on base at a high clip. However, Alvarez has averaged 31 homers in his three full seasons and he’ll get to serve as a designated hitter in the American League (and thus won’t have to be a butcher again in the field). Plus, Camden Yards has been very kind to left-handed power.
The O’s will take a hit defensively here, as Mark Trumbo is now slated to play right field with Alvarez sliding into the DH spot. They could also use Chris Davis some in right and put Trumbo at first base, but either way it’s not going to be pretty when a ball is hit to right field. Baltimore knows what they’re getting into, though, and they’ve decided it’s worth sacrificing defense in order to add some more pop.
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Peralta Likely Out 2-3 Months
Just yesterday, my colleague Nate Grimm led the Spring Training Daily with an update on Yadier Molina’s recovery from a second thumb surgery. Little did we know at the time that there was more concern in Cardinals camp about the thumb of another player.
An MRI has revealed that Jhonny Peralta has a torn ligament in his left thumb, which is the same injury Molina initially suffered last September. Peralta is headed back to St. Louis to get another opinion, but the feeling is that it’s an ailment that will sideline him anywhere from two to three months.
It’s a big blow to a Cardinals offense that has already had its issues the last couple seasons even with Peralta in the lineup. With Peralta slated to miss April and possibly May, as well, St. Louis will most likely turn to Jedd Gyorko at shortstop. Although he played the position in college, Gyorko hadn’t been used at shortstop since the Padres put him there for 29 games last season.
The plan when the Cards traded for Gyorko over the winter was to mainly use him at second base versus lefties, with some occasional starts at shortstop mixed in. How he would handle the position defensively on a regular basis remains to be seen (although it almost surely wouldn’t be good), but he should at least provide power at the plate, having hit 49 homers over his first 1,426 major league plate appearances.
The Cardinals have a couple other internal options in Greg Garcia and Aledmys Diaz, with the latter being the more interesting alternative. Almost exactly two years ago to the day, Diaz was signed out of Cuba to a four-year, $8 million contract. He battled shoulder issues for much of 2014 and didn’t hit much for the first year and a half in the Cardinals organization, even being removed from the 40-man roster last July. Perhaps he needed the wake-up call because he then batted .337/.402/.584 the rest of the way between Double- and Triple-A and the Arizona Fall League, earning back his 40-man roster spot.
However, while Diaz could be a little intriguing, it’s ultimately hard to see him making the jump into the starting lineup. General manager John Mozeliak hasn’t ruled out seeking help outside the organization, but the position is probably Gyorko’s to lose until Peralta returns.
Stanton Nursing Sore Knee
Stanton told the Marlins on Sunday that he was dealing with a bit of soreness in his right knee, so he was scratched from Monday’s lineup and sent to see team physician Dr. Lee Kaplan as a precaution.
"We actually had him go see Kaplan, just to be sure," president of baseball operations Michael Hill said. "Obviously, he's a big part of our team, a big part of our lineup. We want to make sure everything is good. Right now, it's just soreness and rest, and we'll see how he reports [Tuesday]."
It doesn’t sound at this point like this will be any more than a day-to-day situation, but the Marlins are going to be cautious with their star, especially since he had surgery to remove bone chips from the same knee back in 2012. Stanton, of course, has had a tough time with injuries, missing significant time in three out of the last four seasons, including being limited to 74 contests in 2015 with a hamate bone injury.
"I understand," manager Don Mattingly said. "At this point, I'm not going to be too concerned, but I guess, obviously, you pay attention. It's sore for a reason. We're not sure what that is."
Padres “Very Active” on Lincecum
We should know before too long where Tim Lincecum will pitch this season. From listening to the pitcher’s agent, it sounds like he could remain on the West Coast.
Lincecum’s agent, Rick Thurman of Beverly Hills Sports Council, told The Mighty 1090 in San Diego on Monday that the Padres have been “very active” in the pursuit of his client. San Diego has been one of the clubs connected to the two-time Cy Young winner for a while now, and they would seem to be an excellent fit. The Padres have a couple rotation spots up for grabs, Lincecum has a career 2.41 ERA at Petco Park and he’s been a West Coaster his entire life.
Thurman said that Lincecum, who is working his way back from September hip surgery, has been throwing every day and off a mound every other day. The right-hander will hold a showcase for teams "sometime in the next two weeks." The showcase was initially scheduled for mid-January but has been pushed back a few times so that “when he actually goes and does a showcase he's going to be game-ready," according to Thurman.
It’s hard to imagine a club plugging Lincecum right into their rotation even if he signs shortly after the showcase, but being major-league ready sometime in April would seem to be doable. Lincecum holds a 4.68 ERA since the beginning of 2012, so he would fall under the “taking a flier” category at this point. However, San Diego would be a soft landing spot, and it’s possible he could have a bounce-back season in him if the hip had really been limiting him.
Quick Hits: MLB Network's Jon Heyman says the Cubs and Jake Arrieta have discussed a "mega extension," but talks didn't get far ... David Wright (back) said Monday that he expects to be ready for Opening Day … Brewers manager Craig Counsell said Monday that Ryan Braun (back) won't play until the third week of spring training action … Howie Kendrick is day-to-day after being scratched from the Dodgers' Cactus League lineup Monday with a sore groin … Scooter Gennett hasn’t progressed much in his recovery from right shoulder soreness … Nick Castellanos is day-to-day after leaving Monday's Grapefruit League game against the Mets due to tightness in his lower back … Michael Brantley (shoulder) has been cleared to take batting practice in the cage … Red Sox manager John Farrell acknowledged Monday that Eduardo Rodriguez (knee) needs to begin pitching in games within the next 10 days to be ready for the start of the season … Devon Travis is starting to get full range of motion back in his surgically-repaired shoulder … Yasmany Tomas is day-to-day after being scratched from Monday's Cactus League lineup with a sore left knee … Gerrit Cole (ribs) threw 37 pitches of live batting practice Monday … Hyun-Jin Ryu (shoulder) resumed throwing Monday … Adam LaRoche (back) is expected to return to Cactus League action in a couple of days … Luke Gregerson (oblique) threw a bullpen session Sunday without issue … A.J. Ramos (calf) threw a simulated inning Sunday … Huston Street (calf) appeared in a simulated game Monday …