The SF Giants are reportedly nearing an agreement with reliever Jose Alvarez, according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network. A 31-year-old southpaw, Alvarez has pitched in parts of the last eight big-league seasons. While terms of the deal have not been reported, it seems most likely that Alvarez will be signed for a minor-league deal that includes an opt-out if he is not on the MLB roster by a certain date.
Alvarez was an integral part of the Los Angeles Angels bullpen from 2015-2019. Over those five seasons, Alvarez completed 295 innings (335 appearances), allowed 296 hits, struck out 265, walked 90, and posted a 3.36 ERA (3.56 FIP). That track-record of consistency led the Philadelphia Phillies to target Alvarez heading into last season.
In 2020, Alvarez was once again a solid reliever, posting a 1.42 ERA (2.72 FIP) in 6.1 innings of work across 8 appearances. However, in his final outing of the year, Alvarez was victimized by a 105-mph line drive comebacker that hit him in the groin. After laying on the field for an extended period of time, Alvarez was carted off the field and missed the rest of the year with recovering from injury.
If Alvarez can return to his pre-injury form, he would bring one of the longest track-records of MLB success to the Giants roster. At his best, Alvarez works off a three-pitch mix: pairing a changeup with a low-90s sinker and four-seam fastball. While he’s never racked up strikeouts at an elite rate, he’s managed to generate enough whiffs and soft contact to be effective.
The SF Giants added massive amounts of depth to their bullpen this offseason. According to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, the team is close to adding more in left-handed reliever Jose Alvarez. While he may have an uphill battle to the Opening Day roster, Alvarez could bring a long track-record of big-league success to the pitching staff.