After the Miami Marlins signed him this week and invited him to Spring Training as a non-roster invitee, is Pedro Alvarez the team’s answer at first base?
The Miami Marlins have players on the current 40-man roster that will get a shot at the team’s vacant first base job. The team will also look outside the organization through free agency to bring in a veteran to challenge for the position.
On Monday, the Marlins announced the signing of several players as non-roster invitees to Spring Training, meaning they are not part of the 40-man roster but will have an opportunity to compete for a spot with the organization. First baseman Pedro Alvarez was one of them, adding some intrigue to the open competition this coming season.
The team expects both Garrett Cooper and Peter O’Brien to get plenty of attention on the bag with others jumping into the mix like veteran Martin Prado. Miami needs a player who can hit for power and balance the middle of the batting order. Alvarez could be one of those under the radar players who does just enough to mix things up in the Marlins plans for 2019.
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"“First baseman Pedro Alvarez joins the Miami Marlins after splitting most of the last two seasons between the Baltimore Orioles and their triple-A affiliate, the Norfolk Tides, writes Kevin Kraczkowski of Marlin Maniac.“His career batting slashline (.236/.310/.447) is nearly what B/R projects for him in 2019 (.231/.308/.429). A 2013 all-star for the Pittsburgh Pirates, he led the National League in that season with 36 home runs. Alvarez signed a minor league deal, got an invitation to Spring Training, and was assigned to the triple-A New Orleans Baby Cakes.”"
The team liked the small sample O’Brien offered at the plate after a Sept. 1 call-up from Triple-A. Cooper was in the lineup on Opening Day in right field, but a wrist injury sidelined him for the majority of the 2018 campaign. The front office is well aware of the hole left by trading Justin Bour last season. Can the team find another hitter to supply 25-30 home runs and play solid defense?
Before the organization decided to designate Derek Dietrich for assignment last month, it was believed he could challenge for the first base job as well. The veteran had his best season with 16 home runs, but the team decided not to tender him an offer in arbitration. His leadership will be missed on the diamond and in the clubhouse.