By Jason Shetler
After coming off back-to-back 30 homer seasons in 2012 and 2013, Pedro Alvarez struggled in 2014, not just at the plate, but in the field, as he began developing throwing issues from third base. Entering 2015, the Pirates began the first base experiment with Alvarez. That experiment went completely wrong, as he committed 23 errors, the most in baseball, and the most by a Pirates first baseman since Kevin Young in 1999. Despite the miserable year defensively, Alvarez was able to bounce back on the offensive side, hitting 27 home runs to lead the Pirates while posting a 114 OPS+ in 150 games.
On Monday, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review was on MLB Now, and mentioned that the Pirates have gotten limited trade interest on Alvarez, which could prompt the Pirates to non-tender him. But would non-tendering Alvarez be the right move? – Alvarez is projected to make $8.1 million in his last year of arbitration. Based on the season he had offensively in 2015, there should be enough good trade value to attract American League clubs in search of a DH. The Pirates could look to obtain either a couple of B level type prospects or a decent arm for the backend of the rotation, depending on the offer. While there may be little trade interest in Alvarez right now, there’s still three months left in the offseason, so teams out there should be more interested especially once free agents start coming off the board. Also, because teams won’t have to offer the Pirates a huge overhaul, there shouldn’t be a problem for that club paying Alvarez the $8 million. Considering all that, I think it would be worth the risk to tender Alvarez and attempt to trade him for a decent return rather than not getting anything for him with a non-tender.