Should Mets sign Pedro Alvarez?
Pedro Alvarez to the Mets? It may not sound as outlandish as it seems. Truth be told, the slugging first baseman is still on the free agent market looking for a home. As Opening Night is quickly approaching, it wouldn’t be a bad idea for the Mets to kick the tires on the 29-year-old slugger. At this point it seems only a minor-league deal would be needed to get Alvarez into camp. Now Alvarez has had some pretty impressive power numbers since he has entered the league, but truth be told he isn’t a high average hitter and he tends to strikeout a lot. The Mets are going to be trying out Wilmer Flores, Kevin Plawecki, and Eric Campbell as Lucas Duda’s backup. Campbell and Flores are also candidates to spell David Wright at third base this upcoming season. Ruben Tejada’s roster spot is not as secure as it may have seemed, with recent reports stating he may be in competition with Campbell for a bench spot. Pedro Alvarez has experience at both first base and third base with the Pirates, and he can occasionally spell Duda and Wright this season if he were to make the team. Alvarez’s power could also be considered a dangerous weapon off of the bench for the Mets. At this point with Alvarez’s market silent, the Mets could offer a Minor League deal with an opt-out date if he doesn’t make the team, and if he does make the team Alvarez can rehab his value with a contending ball club this season.
Although Alvarez was born in the Dominican Republic, he is a New York City native and seems to love playing at home. Over the last 3 seasons, Alvarez’s favorite ballpark to hit at is Citi Field. Alvarez’s numbers are beyond impressive as the last three seasons Alvarez has a unbelievable line of .483/.484/.793. He also has a ridiculous 1.277 OPS, his highest in any National League Ballpark. Now defensively Alvarez leaves a lot to be desired, but one would hope that with limited appearances in the field he could overcome those mistakes and be appreciated more for his bat. Alvarez can use the help from Mets hitting coach Kevin Long to cut down on the strikeouts and improve hitting for average. When Alvarez has been ahead in the count the last three seasons with less than 2 strikes, he is a .369 hitter. Long has worked wonders for Curtis Granderson’s turnaround, and also helping the Mets offense reach it’s full potential during the second half of last season. Alvarez could also work on his defensive mechanics more on the side since he will not be an everyday player.
Eric Campbell has had his moments with the Mets, but they often come in small spurts and he leaves a lot to be desired with his bat. Campbell struggled mightily with his bat last season only hitting .197 in 173 at-bats. Campbell is only a year younger than Alvarez and does not have the track record that Alvarez has. I simply believe Alvarez would be an upgrade to the bench for the Mets over Eric Campbell if he is indeed being as strongly considered as mentioned by other outlets. Alvarez is only two years removed from his All-Star 2013 campaign where he also held the National League Home Run Title. He was also a participant in the Citi Field Home Run Derby with Yoenis Cespedes that year. A change of scenery has obviously been the best recommendation for Alvarez, and a fresh start back home in the friendly confines of New York could be just what the doctored ordered. This is the type of low-risk high-reward move Sandy Alderson is known for and it could pay off nicely for both parties if an agreement could be reached.