OF Dariel Alvarez Optioned, RHP Richard Rodriguez Reassigned to Minor League Camp

NEWS

The Baltimore Orioles made their first cuts after Tuesday's game against the Dominican Republic by optioning outfielder Dariel Alvarez and reassigning right-handed pitcher Richard Rodriguez to minor league camp.

Photo: Patrick Cavey




Alvarez, 28, was a bit of a surprise to me to get optioned so early in camp. It's a surprise because the guy has performed well in the minors, and holds his own when given the few opportunities in the big leagues.

He is a career .293 hitter in the minor leagues with a .324 OBP and is coming off a year in which he led the entire International League (AAA) in doubles with 38. In 14 games and 32 at-bats, Alvarez has hit .250 with two doubles, a homer and three RBI in the big leagues.

Unfortunately for him, it appears that he continues to fall on the outfield depth chart for the Orioles, and that's pretty evident by their interest in moving him to the mound. He arguably has the best arm in the organization for a position player, and the O's have seen it work before (see Mychal Givens). Perhaps the move this early in spring training is a way for the Orioles to further encourage a move to the mound, and if he agrees to it, more time in minor league camp to begin working on his pitching techniques.

Rodriguez, 27, was not as surprising of a cut as Alvarez, and in all honesty, Rodriguez did not have a chance to break camp with the big league club due to the vast amount of quality relievers the Orioles have.

He is a great guy to have as minor league depth though and will rejoin Norfolk's bullpen this season after posting terrific numbers in 2016 with the Tides. He made 48 appearances (two starts) last year with the Tides and went 6-2 with a 2.53 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP over 81 2/3 innings pitched. In addition, he held opponents to a .216 batting average and struck out 81 batters.

Rodriguez led all International League relievers for fewest base-runners per nine innings pitched (9.54). He also ranked second in the IL among relievers with a .201 opponents' batting average (46 games as a reliever) and fewest walks per nine innings (2.18).

With these two cuts, the Orioles now have 55 players remaining in big league camp. Just your friendly reminder, that number will eventually have to get trimmed to 25.

                                                                                                                                                       
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Comments

  1. An update, O's manager Buck Showalter told reporters in Sarasota that Alvarez will being a pitching program in minor league camp and get into ST games later this spring. Will also DH some to stay engaged offensively.

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