One of the biggest surprises early in Dodgers camp has been the appearance of Yadier Alvarez. He’s the flamethrowing Cuban the Dodgers gave a $16 million signing bonus to during their 2015-16 international spending spree. To date, that investment hasn’t paid off.
In recent years, he has dealt with some off-the-field issues stemming from immaturity to leaving his team. But perhaps there’s still a chance for him to figure things out.
This is promising! First, it’s encouraging for him to recognize he had some issues and is trying to deal with them. That’s a sign of maturity. But he might also realize this is his last chance — at least with the Dodgers — to further his professional career.
I ranked him at No. 64 in my Top 100 prospects, but it isn’t because of lack of talent. He still has some of the most electric stuff in the entire farm system and has shown top-of-the-rotation potential in the past. It’s probably best to temper those expectations, but his high-90s fastball and “dastardly” slider would play very, very well out of a bullpen.
If he has indeed turned things around, then it could be a boon for the Dodgers rather than a sunk cost. They’ll have to decide rather quickly, though, as they have within a month whether they want to activate him from the restricted list. If they do, they’ll have to create a 40-man roster spot.
The odds are against Alvarez coming all the way back, but we’ve seen stranger things in this silly sport.