Detroit Tigers sign former top prospect José Álvarez to MiLB deal

Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Jose Alvarez throws a pitch during the 2013 season.
Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Jose Alvarez throws a pitch during the 2013 season. / Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Former Detroit Tigers top prospect José Álvarez signs MiLB contract.

Welcome home to José Álvarez! The 34-year-old reliever has signed a minor league contract with the Detroit Tigers organization. This comes ten years after he made his big league debut with the Tigers in 2013 as one of the team's exciting pitching prospects.

Things may not have worked out quite that way for Álvarez, but he has pitched in the big leagues for the last ten seasons, so it's still worked out quite well for the Venezuelan native. Back in the early 2010s, the Tigers were bringing the likes of exciting pitching prospects like Álvarez and even Jacob Turner through the farm system.

Neither of them panned out as the players they were expected to be, but both have gone on to pitch in the big leagues with other franchises. But, after spending the last two seasons in San Francisco with the Giants organization, he follows Scott Harris to Detroit.

Álvarez was a Harris acquisition with the Giants, and ultimately the two were able to connect and come to terms on a deal that brings the 34-year-old to the Tigers organization with hopes of getting back to the big leagues once again.

In 2022, Álvarez pitched in 21 games, working out of the Giants bullpen. He accumulated 15.1 innings pitched, managing a 5.28 ERA and a 1.70 WHIP. It was a far cry from what he had done in 2021, where he was lights out for the Giants bullpen.

In 2021, Álvarez pitched in 67 games, totaling 64.2 innings where he pitched to a 2.37 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP while punching out 42 opposing hitters and issuing 19 walks. Now, after two seasons in San Francisco, he will look to get back on track in Detroit.

It's not some crazy signing or something that's super impactful, but the Tigers brought back an old friend, as Álvarez was one of the team's big up-and-coming prospects a decade ago. A blast from the past could turn into a serviceable relief arm after he gets healthy.

Álvarez underwent Tommy John Surgery in September of 2022, so he is rehabbing from that, which will keep him off the mound. However, as he rehabs and gets back to 100%, he could be a relief arm in the Tigers' back pocket in the future.

It will be interesting to see if Álvarez cracks the MLB roster in Detroit after he is healthy, truly coming full circle, throughout a big league career that spans ten seasons heading into this year. Welcome back to the Tigers organization, José!

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