Royals general manager Dayton Moore should consider trying to scoop up slugger Pedro Alvarez if no significant market develops for him.
Yes, I know that Kansas City Royals want to keep the designated hitter position as a rotating job to give regulars a rest. But, adding the soon-to-be 30-year-old Alvarez at a cheap price would be too good to pass up.
Of course, the primary benefit Pedro Alvarez brings is power. He is a former no. 2 overall pick (just ahead of Eric Hosmer in the 2008 draft). Though Alvarez has never lived up to his draft status due to his inability to hit left-handed pitching, he still brings some interesting skills to the table.
Yes, Alvarez is a lousy defender at either third or first base. But, he runs better than you’d expect from a 1B/DH type. He’s earned positive base-running metrics from Fangraphs the last two seasons, despite stealing only three bases. In short, he’s not Kendrys Morales or Salvador Perez who clog up the basepaths. Instead, Alvarez is a smart base-runner who knows how to take the extra base.
While the KC Royals wouldn’t want him to play against left-handed pitchers, that limitation is hardly a deal-breaker. Kansas City manager Ned Yost could just insert Cheslor Cuthbert into the lineup against lefties. Or, he could use Salvador Perez at DH and tap Drew Butera to start behind the plate. In short, sitting Alvarez against lefties would just let the Royals put their part-time DH plan into action.
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Alvarez’s appeal might hinge on how serious the KC Royals are about the idea of Jorge Soler playing full-time in right. Soler’s defensive metrics rate him as clearly below average in the field. However, Kansas City scouts believe Soler can become at least league average in right with improved routes. His strong arm could then push him into above average defensive numbers.
Last season, Alvarez slashed .251/.326/.522 against right handed pitchers with 22 home runs in 299 at bats. That line looks a lot like Kendrys Morales last season, without the $33 million commitment. Heck, with the current slow market for 1B/DH type players, Alvarez should be available on a one-year deal for about $4 to $5 million.
Of course, Dayton Moore might prefer spending his limited funds for bullpen upgrades instead of a part-time DH. But, Alvarez might become attractive if the Royals lose the Greg Holland sweepstakes.