The A’s appear set to welcome free agent right-hander Henderson Alvarez to their pitching staff.
On Friday afternoon, Alvarez posted on his Instagram account an image of a gold A’s jersey with his name and the No. 37 on it. This came after Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan reported earlier in the day that Oakland would give the 25-year-old Alvarez a one-year, $4 million deal that’s loaded with incentives. CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman was first to report that an agreement was close.
The team has yet to announce a signing.
Such a contract would carry a degree of risk as Alvarez is coming off surgery last July on his throwing shoulder. He’s expected to miss the start of the 2016 season, and it’s unclear when exactly he’d be ready to return. Alvarez was non-tendered by the Miami Marlins earlier this month, which made him a free agent. He has four years of big league service time, so the A’s would have Alvarez under team control through the 2017 season (via the arbitration process) if they do officially sign him.
It’s easy to see the potential payoff for Oakland. Alvarez was a highly-regarded prospect coming up through the Toronto Blue Jays’ organization. He was part of the blockbuster trade that sent him as part of a package to the Marlins for pitcher Mark Buehrle, shortstop Jose Reyes and others. He became an All-Star in 2014, going 12-7 with a 2.65 ERA in 30 starts. Alvarez also threw a no-hitter on the final day of the 2013 season.
The A’s have been searching for one final piece for their starting rotation. If and when Alvarez is healthy enough to take the mound, he would seemingly fit right into a starting staff that will include Sonny Gray, Rich Hill, Kendall Graveman and probably Jesse Hahn, though Hahn and Graveman are each coming off season-ending injuries in 2015. The most recent indications are that both are healthy as the offseason unfolds.