First Pitch: A Reminder on Pedro Alvarez’s Contract

Today the Pittsburgh Pirates picked up the option year for Pedro Alvarez. Alvarez has a unique contract which usually brings some confusion about how long the Pirates have him under control. As a refresher, I thought I’d break down his deal.

Alvarez is still under the deal he signed out of the draft (or to be more accurate, the second deal he signed out of the draft). That deal called for $700,000 options in 2013 and 2014. Either option could be voided by Alvarez if he would have been arbitration eligible. Since he won’t be arbitration eligible in 2013, the Pirates were able to pick up his option. Next off-season he’ll be able to void the $700,000 option.

Normally when players have option years and those options are bought out or voided, the player becomes a free agent. That’s not the case with Alvarez. All players are under team control until they reach six years of service time. Alvarez will see his original deal expire before he reaches six years of service time in the majors. From there, he would continue as if he didn’t previously have a deal. His first arbitration year will be in 2014, followed by two more in 2015 and 2016. He will be eligible for free agency following the 2016 season.

So the Pirates have Alvarez through the 2016 season. It’s just a unique situation where his contract expires before six years of service time, and has option years involved when he normally would be in his final year of league minimum pay. They probably won’t have him beyond 2016, since he’s a Scott Boras client, and Boras clients rarely sign extensions to buy out free agent years.

Links and Notes

**Pirates Announce Jay Bell As New Hitting Coach.

**Pirates Decline Option for Rod Barajas; Pick Up Option for Pedro Alvarez.

**Arizona Fall League Recap: 10/31. Included in this is a note about Vic Black being named to the AFL Rising Stars game.

**P.J. Forbes Won’t Return to Pirates Organization.

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Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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  • Lee Young

    Tim…thanks…we were asking about that on the Plus yesterday.

    Bottom line with Alvarez….he will get dealt in 2016 or before, esp if he becomes a ‘monster’ (or quits striking out so much).

    That’s sad…but that is the way Bud wants it. Look how bad the WS ratings were without Boston or New York in it.

    • jalcorn

      I don’t think it will matter too much. Bad bodied, high strikeout sluggers generally age very poorly. We will get his entire prime as is and he can walk when he hits age 30 as a 1B that should be replaceable. I wouldn’t extend him for more than 1 extra year anyway. Honestly, with his K rate I’d much rather go year to year in arbitration.

  • emjayinTN

    j: I hear you, agree with you, but folks who set contract worth could care less about 180 K’s in a year. What turns them on is the 25 doubles, 30 HR’s, 85 RBI’s. Perfect example is Mark Reynolds who held his K’s down to about 160 this year and had mid-20’s for HR’s. Just finished his 5th year I think, and made $7.5 mil in 2012. In 2013 he has an $11.5 mil Club Option.

    Alvarez just finshed his 2nd year of MLB Service at age 25 – we have him for 4 more years or when he is 29. Is he coming out of the funk or will he continue to tease us throughout his career? If he was in first year Arb this year he would be worth $3.5 to $4.5 mil as a 30 HR, 85 RBI guy. Is it the time to play it safe – year-to-year, or is it the time to try to wrap him up longer? If Boras says NO, the Pirates still win because they have shown confidence in his ability. Now, that’s a big gamble for a GM.

  • leadoff

    The Pirates should take a shot at an extension asap, power hitting 3rd basemen are getting rare. Even if they keep him through 2016, they will be paying him a pretty good sum in arbitration in years 14,15,16.
    If Alvarez does not want to consider an extension, the Bucs might want to trade him after the 2014 or 15 seasons, they should get a very good return for him.
    Make no mistake about it, Alvarez will be an even more dominating player going forward, he hit 30 home runs and had a bad year overall, think what he might do with a good year?

    • Lee Young

      Bora$$ clients don’t ‘do extensions’.



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