12 July 2018

Pedro Alvarez is Living My Dream

One of the biggest surprises of the Norfolk Tides 2017 season – last season – was that Pedro Alvarez didn't exercise his contractual opt-out to become a free agent. Alvarez is a power hitter, whose best position was designated hitter, in a system loaded with defensively-limited power hitters. It seemed obvious to us in Norfolk that Baltimore may have been his worst opportunity for major-league time, so why not try to move elsewhere? But he chose to stay in Noforlk

Flash-forward to 2018. Pedro Alvarez re-signed with the Orioles, and made the opening-day roster. He played in 45 games. At that point, the Orioles realized that he wasn't helping the team win now and, at age 31, wasn't likely to help the team win in the future. So, on June 19, the Orioles designated him for assignment and the following day outrighted him to Norfolk.

We would like to think that every team has nothing but major-league prospects at every level of its farm system. But in reality that's the exception. Almost every AAA team has a player like Pedro Alvarez – well, not all that much like Pedro Alvarez, a one-time all-star and #2 overall draft pick – but a 30+ year old with no real chance to play in the major leages (again). Gwinnett (Braves) has Sean Kazmar; Charlotte (White Sox) Jake Elmore; Durham (Rays) Brandon Snyder; Louisville (Reds) Hernan Irribarren, So while we in Norfolk are disappointed that Pedro Alvarez may be taking a Norfolk roster spot from a promising player, his presence with the Tides has virtually no effect on the Orioles' future.

The more surprising thing is that Alvarez accepted his minor-league assignment. At least last season the Orioles were a pretender; there was a chance that they would need his power in the chase for a wild-card berth. But this year, the Orioles are a non-contender; they're unlikely to (be able to) trade a veteran whose spot Alvarez could fill. Again he could have become a free agent with the chance of finding a better organizational fit. He didn't do it and again, it made no sense.

Until I learned a few things about Pedro Alvarez, the specifics of which I am choosing not to share to respect his privacy (other than to say that none of these things are negative.) I can state some generalities. According to baseball-reference.com, Alvarez has made over $21 million in his baseball career. I do not know if he has squandered his money, but I have reason to believe that he has not; if he has been even moderately prudent with his earnings he should have enough to live on for the rest of his life. The Norfolk – Williamsburg – Virginia Beach area is a nice place to retire to – reasonably nice weather, a fairly low cost of living. I don't know Alvarez' interests, but there's the Virginia Beach waterfront, a thriving local music scene, lots of golf courses nearby.

So now I see Pedro Alvarez as someone who might be truly living the dream. Ideally, he's got no money worries. He's living in a congenial environment. He gets to do what he wants – play baseball – and gets to hang out with friends. He even gets paid for his hobby! He's performed at the highest level of his profession. He's almost living my dream, anyway – although instead of playing baseball almost every day I'd settle for datacasting baseball.

Pedro Alvarez, I'm rooting for you. Enjoy.

1 comment:

Pip said...

Great read...except we want our guys to live out OUR dream... which is a World Series.