A Phillies free-agent pitcher worth bringing back


As baseball's offseason takes shape, we will take a look at each player on the Phillies 2020 roster and where they fit in the future. We'll go through the roster by uniform number, lowest to highest for position players, highest to lowest for pitchers, and alternate daily.

Today: Reliever Jose Alvarez

Career rundown

The 31-year-old Venezuelan lefty originally signed with the Red Sox as an amateur free agent in 2005. 

He was traded straight-up four years later to the Marlins for Jeremy Hermida. Alvarez never appeared in the majors with the Red Sox. He signed with the Tigers in November 2012 and made his MLB debut with Detroit in 2013. The Tigers traded him to the Angels after that season for Andrew Romine. 

Alvarez made 270 appearances over five seasons with the Angels, posting a 3.35 ERA before being traded to the Phils.

He has a 3.17 ERA in 75 appearances across two seasons as a Phillie.

How he became a Phillie

One of former GM Matt Klentak's best trades was the quiet exchange of reliever Luis Garcia for Alvarez in December 2018. 

In the two years since that trade, Alvarez has a 3.17 ERA and was the Phillies' most consistent reliever, while Garcia has a 4.73 ERA with an unsightly walk rate. The Angels let Garcia walk after 2019, he signed with the Rangers and was then released.

2020 season

Alvarez made only eight appearances this summer before suffering an excruciating injury — a testicular contusion — that ended his season. In a doubleheader in Buffalo against the Blue Jays on August 20, Alvarez was struck in that area by a 105 mph line drive. He was carted off and did not pitch again for the Phils.


Seven of Alvarez's eight appearances were scoreless. He had a 1.42 ERA.

What lies ahead

Alvarez is a free agent for the first time. The Phillies, with a bullpen filled with question marks, should look into bringing him back.

The Phillies have a young left-handed reliever in JoJo Romero but the future is unclear for Adam Morgan, who underwent surgery on his left flexor tendon on October 8 and could miss up to nine months.

Alvarez is a candidate for a two-year deal in the $6 million range. Lefty Jake Diekman last offseason signed a two-year, $7.5 million contract with the Athletics.

Alvarez does not have big velocity or a repertoire you'd call "nasty," but he's reliable and can retire lefties. In 2018 and 2019, he held lefties to a .220/.271/.358 slash line.

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