Pittsburgh Pirates News: Team Signs Pitcher Henderson Alvarez


According to reports, the Pittsburgh Pirates have signed right-handed pitcher and 2014 National League All-Star Henderson Alvarez.

Injuries have completley ravaged the Pittsburgh Pirates pitching staff this year. Plus with many of their starters struggling, the arms that are healthy in their bullpen have been overworked and taxed for more innings than they probably should be pitching.

Right now, the team has five pitchers on the injured list. Joe Musgrove was scratched from Sunday’s start with his condition up in the air. So to try and fill some pitching depth, the team has reached an agreement with former all-star, right-handed pitcher Henderson Alvarez.

Alvarez’s career has been a real roller coaster. The right broke out as a young and upcoming starter in 2013 with the Miami Marlins, pitching to the tune of a 3.59 ERA, 3.18 FIP and 1.14 WHIP in 102.2 innings of work. To go with that, he allowed just two home runs, and he walked 6.5% of the batters he faced. Though that came with the drawback of only having a 13.6% strikeout rate. The highlight of his breakout season was a no hitter in his final start of the year.

In 2014, Alvarez continued to dominate. In his lone all-star season, Alvarez had a 2.65 ERA, 3.58 FIP and 1.23 WHIP across 187 innings of work. Alvarez saw his walk rate drop even further to an otherworldly 4.3% mark. He did see a slight uptick in strikeouts to 14.4%, but he gave up 14 home runs. Regardless, he had a 3.70 SIERA and 3.57 xFIP, and only being 24-years-old at the time, he looked to be a long term rotation anchor for the Marlins.

However, injuries have completely derailed his career. Henderson only pitched 22.1 innings in 2015 before having to undergo shoulder surgery. He pitched sparingly for the Oakland A’s minor league system in 2016, but reappeared with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2017. With the Phillies, he only would throw 14.2 innings in his return to the majors. Since then, he has been bouncing around with Mexican league teams and independent league teams.

In 2019, he latched on with the Washington Nationals and pitched poorly in the 53.2 innings he was with their Triple-A club. Before the Pirates picked up the righty, Alvarez was with the American Association’s Milwaukee Milkmen. He only started one game, and went 4 innings allowing no earned runs, no walks, allowed two runners to reach base on hits, and struck out two.

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Despite debuting with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2011, Alvarez is still just 30-years-old. It remains to be seen what the Pirates will do with Alvarez. Will he join the bullpen? Be given a shot to start? Head to their alternative training site in Altoona? We will have to wait and see.