Even though they’ve been bitten by the injury bug quite hard over the first few months of the season, the Dodgers still control the NL West by a full four games while sporting the best record on the senior circuit at 35-17.
Already, we’ve seen several new faces on the team, specifically a pair of blue-chip pitching prospects in Ryan Pepiot and Michael Grove. Super-utility man Zach McKinstry made his return to the majors when outfielder Kevin Pillar fractured his shoulder earlier this week. In the most recent move on Friday, the team selected the contract of infielder Eddy Alvarez when slugger Edwin Rios went down with a hamstring strain.
The 32-year-old Alvarez was among the many minor league signings front-office boss Andrew Friedman and his crew snagged during last winter’s lockout period when major league deals were shut down.
As you’ve likely heard, Alvarez’s backstory is interesting because he is just one of six athletes to have medaled in different sports at both the Summer and Winter Olympics.
Alvarez earned a silver medal in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi as part of the United States 5000-meter relay speedskating team. He won his second silver medal last year in the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, after he and the rest of the men’s baseball team lost to Japan in the Gold Medal Game.
Alvarez was a star shortstop at Christopher Columbus High School in Miami, and he was signed by the White Sox on a minors deal back in 2014 after hanging up his skates. He began his professional baseball career with the Low-A Kannapolis Intimidators later that summer.
The 5-foot-9 lefty hitter is one of those grinder types of players who seemingly will do whatever he can to get on base, although there’s really not much to write home about in the slugging department. He had one of Triple-A Oklahoma City’s most productive averages early in the year at .304/.430/.500, coupled with an impressive 13.4% walk rate.
After being traded by the White Sox to the Marlins in 2019, Alvarez hit the majors for the first time and produced a not-so-stellar .188/.287/.287 slash line over 115 plate appearances in parts of two seasons. Over the course of his eight-year minor league career, he has tallied a .282/.383/.423 slash line with 51 homers over 660 games and 2783 PA.
Alvarez could be valuable to the Dodgers as a defender, fitting the Hanser Alberto type of mold. Alvarez is sure handed with a decent arm and can handle all three of the second base, shortstop, and third base spots reliably.
Early indications are that Rios will miss a handful of weeks despite not needing surgery after part of his tendon apparently came off the bone. However, Max Muncy could possibly begin a rehab assignment as early as this weekend, signaling that his potential return might not be too far away.