Ken Gurnick of MLB.com was among the first to reveal the news.
Alvarez was scheduled to throw against the Brewers in a Cactus League game on Friday, but when he did not make the appearance, skipper Dave Roberts said that the 23-year-old righty “did not feel right” and was subsequently scratched.
It was later reported that Alvarez was feeling discomfort in his right shoulder.
Early on Saturday morning, Roberts told reporters that Alvarez was shut down and was being examined for an unspecified physical issue.
Approximately two hours later, the announcement came that the team was designating him for assignment.
During his first few years in the system, it was common to see Alvarez ranked among the organization’s Top 5 overall prospects.
Despite a substandard 4.02 ERA over his career in the minors, things still seemed to be on the up-and-up for the native of Cuba when he was named to the team’s 40-man roster late in 2018. However, it was a series of unexcused absences that landed him on the restricted list just before rosters expanded last season.
Reporters stated that it was Alvarez’s behavioral issues that initially got him into trouble. After Alvarez did not respond to internal disciplinary attempts by the organization, the final straw was the restricted list, which seemingly may have pushed him out of the organization for good.
After defecting from Cuba at the age of 18 and showcasing his skills in the Dominican Prospect League, the Dodgers signed Alvarez to a whopping $16 million bonus on the first day of the international signing period in July of 2015.
For offering a bonus so high and taking into account their other international signings, the Dodgers were forced to pay a penalty for surpassing international limits.
That’s how much the team liked him.
“His fastball is a power fastball,” said Gil Velazquez, manager of the Low-A Great Lakes back in 2016. “He tops out at 100 MPH several times per game. He’ll sit around 96 and he’s got a sharp curve. You can tell the hitters were intimidated. For him to be as young as he is and have such an easy delivery and hit 100 is impressive. Honestly, I’m not surprised at what he’s done here. If he speeds up his delivery a little more and gets a little more aggressive, I feel he’s a guy who can be dominant in the majors.”
Heading into spring training last year, the coaching staff engineered a rubber mechanism that connected Alvarez’s hip to his ankle in an effort to straighten out his delivery. He made two starts for Tulsa last April, but a groin injury triggered another nightmare season and his eventual downfall to the restricted list.
There’s still a chance the Dodgers could receive something in return for Alvarez. If a rival organization is willing to take a chance on the right-hander and offer an agreeable player back to the Dodgers, a trade could be orchestrated not long after.