The Pittsburgh Pirates have non-tendered first baseman Pedro Alvarez and outfielder Jaff Decker, per a team press release. Both players immediately become free agents. All other unsigned players have been tendered contracts. The 40-man roster is now at 38.
The fact that the Pirates are moving on from Alvarez isn’t surprising at all. The writing has been on the wall for that one all off-season. The biggest question here was whether they would tender him a contract and try to deal him, or non-tender him and get nothing. The former came with the risk that they’d be stuck with him for his projected $8.1 M salary, and the potential return wasn’t going to be great. They obviously didn’t want to take that risk.
This ends the Alvarez era in Pittsburgh. He was the second overall pick in 2008, and was supposed to be a guy who could carry the franchise. He never really did that, but did have a few productive years before dropping to a replacement level player the last two years. He had a lot of power, but that was pretty much it, and his horrible defense at first base negated any value the bat had.
It will be interesting to see what kind of deal Alvarez receives on the open market. The Astros just non-tendered Chris Carter. Mark Trumbo was traded yesterday for a backup catcher. The value seems to be pretty low on the all-power, no defense first basemen. There could be some value as a designated hitter for Alvarez, but that still wouldn’t have landed much in a trade.
The decision to non-tender Decker was a bit of a surprise. He was out of options, and they could have tendered him a deal and then waived him later. He didn’t project to make the roster next year, so this was an inevitable move. It also increases the odds of someone like Keon Broxton making the team in a bench role. This isn’t an uncommon move, as they have non-tendered pre-arb guys in previous years, mostly when they were out of options and had the ability to elect free agency if they were outrighted off the roster during the off-season.