Baltimore Orioles: Evaluating potential remaining free-agent options
Chris Carter/Pedro Alvarez, DH
Chris Carter was a surprising addition to the free-agent class of 2016 after the Milwaukee Brewers elected to non-tender him. Carter hit 41 home runs last year, but did strike out 206 times. On the plus side, he did manage to draw 76 walks in 160 games. That would have put him second on the Orioles. Carter’s .821 OPS was only slightly lower than Mark Trumbo’s .850.
Pedro Alvarez was a late addition to the Orioles last March, but he fared quite well. In his first season as a pure platooner, Alvarez hit 22 home runs in 109 games (one every 15 at-bats compared to one every 19 at-bats for his career). He did exactly what he was supposed to, slashing .251/.326/.522 against right-handed pitching, really blossoming into his role in June, July, and August before losing playing time in September and cooling off.
Trumbo will eventually sign a multi-year deal, while Carter is likely looking at a one-year pillow contract. The Orioles pulled their $50-plus million offer from Trumbo, but having seen them come back to Chris Davis last winter, it’s a safe assumption that Duquette has another offer for Trumbo up his sleeve, especially if his market continues to dwindle.
If Trumbo finds a better deal than what the Orioles are willing to offer him (doubtful), then Carter is the natural fallback option. He would be coming to Baltimore only to DH, and keeping a left-handed partner for him would also make sense. By nabbing Carter over Trumbo and retaining Alvarez, the Orioles can keep their DH production relatively level compared to last year while finding a better defender for right field.