By: Chris Williams
Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports and Chris Cotillo of SB Nation have reported that the A’s have signed Henderson Alvarez, formerly of the Miami Marlins, to a 1-year $4 million deal that includes roughly $1.6 million in incentives. The kicker is that, thanks to Alvarez’s short service time, the A’s have an extra year of club control through 2017. Alvarez, 25, is coming off a serious shoulder injury that may keep him out for part of this upcoming season as well. He was the Marlins’ opening day starter in 2015 and could add to an already fairly young stable of starting pitchers led by Sonny Gray.
The Athletics are known for taking gambles on players of this nature; high-upside with or coming off serious injuries thanks to the reduced price tag that comes along with them. Not all of these moves have paid off (see Eric O’Flaherty) but there is precedent for a major payoff if Alvarez is capable of returning to his pre-injury form. This deal has not yet been confirmed by the Oakland Athletics but could be by the end of the day.
There are rumors that the A’s are indeed still involved with Scott Kazmir as I initially suspected. Most teams are said to be offering 3-year deals in the ballpark of $12-13 million per year. Scott Kazmir is rumored to be holding out for a 4-year deal which would put him at around 36 years old in the final year of his contract. In my opinion, a 3-year deal should be the max for Kazmir as he has injury issues in the past and having that $12-$13 million per year in 2018 or 2019 could go a long way towards keeping other players around.
If you’re going to sign a pitcher to a multiple year deal, sign your young ace to keep him under a cost-controlled contract for the remainder of his 20’s. Signing Sonny Gray would cost roughly the same amount per year (maybe a little more) and give you much higher upside when the team looks to be highly competitive again in 2018 and 2019 with many young standouts coming to the majors over the next few years.