Are we all in agreeance that we should vote for Pedro?
Okay, okay, not that Pedro, but those t-shirts would definitely come in handy for this article.
The Orioles will be searching for a designated hitter this offseason, and hopefully their search winds up being called off sooner, rather than later.
Five days after the World Series concludes, Pedro Álvarez (along with nine others) will become a free agent, and Scott Boras may have him test the waters to explore the best possible deal for the former All-Star and Silver Slugger.
Álvarez, who will turn 30 in February, had a good season with the Orioles in 2016. Through 109 games, Pedro hit .249/.322/.504, with an OPS of .826 that was good for best in his career thus far. Pedro wound up finishing with 22 home runs, and averaged a home run every 15.3 at-bats. Six of those blasts came in the Orioles record-breaking month of June.
Don’t forget, he pounded out five homers in three game to begin August.
When the Orioles signed Álvarez to a 1-year, $5.75M deal in March, he was expected to carry the DH role, splitting his time with Mark Trumbo, and he did just that. Only ten starts came in the field in 2016 for Álvarez, with all of them at third base.
Álvarez has proven over the years that he is a sustained power hitting DH threat, and here recently, Pedro seems to be finding his stride after the All-Star break.
What perfect timing.
In 2015, Pedro hit .251/.338/.525 with an .863 OPS, and 15 HR’s after the break, compared to .236/.303/.430 with a .733 OPS, and 12 HR’s prior. That same trend carried into 2016, when Pedro hit .250/.324/.549 with an .873 OPS, and 13 HR’s after the midway point, compared to a .249/.320/.462 with a .782 OPS, and 9 HR’s before.
I’d also like to think he can keep his sustained success up against RHP as well. In 2016, Alvarez hit .251/.326/.522 with an .848 OPS vs. right handed pitchers, compared to .243/.293/.378 with a .671 OPS vs. left.
Those are numbers a lot of teams would be willing to roll the dice on, and for the Orioles, they’ll probably need to offer Álvarez a multi-year deal to reel the seven-year slugger back to Baltimore.
That might also be the cheapest way to go to fill the DH void this offseason.
According to Spotrac, there are only a few names classified as true Designated Hitters on the market this offseason. Those names are Carlos Beltran, Edwin Encarnacion, Kendrys Morales, Billy Butler, and Pedro Álvarez.
The class of 2017, ladies and gentleman.
Carlos Beltran will turn 40 in April, and I haven’t heard yet, but I think he’s still contemplating retirement at this point. Kendrys Morales has an $11.5M mutual option, and with the Royals expected to reduce payroll in 2017, they may buy out that option. Edwin Encarnacion could find himself back in Toronto if the Blue Jays let Jose Bautista and Michael Saunders get away. Finally, Billy Butler may be the only other name worth looking at, however his numbers in one and three quarter seasons with the Athletics barely compare to Álvarez’ 109 games with the Orioles.
This team could be a step closer to making a deeper run in October by bringing Álvarez back under a two-year deal, and letting him slug around Camden Yards a little more.
Maybe I speak for all of us when I say I enjoyed watching 11.2% of Pedro’s hits turn into extra-base hits of some kind, and maybe I’m bias, but I do also enjoy saying El Toro. It flows nicely off the tongue.