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The Week in Transactions: Orioles sign Pedro Alvarez

This week, we turn our gaze towards Detroit's roster, full of both talent and big salaries.

Pedro Alvarez finds a home in Baltimore
Pedro Alvarez finds a home in Baltimore
Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports
Tribe Transactions

Update (March 14 7:00 PM)

Optioned RHP Mike Clevinger, LHP Shawn Morimando, OF Zach Walters, and  LHP Ryan Merritt To Columbus (AAA)

Optioned RHP Dylan Baker to Akron (AA)

Sent RHP Adam Plutko and RHP Will Roberts to minor-league camp

(Plutko and Roberts were in major-league camp on non-roster invites, extended to players not on the 40-man roster)

This first round of Spring Training cuts is mostly starting pitchers, who now that the major-league starters are getting stretched out wouldn't get the innings they needed. Clevinger, Morimando, Merritt, and Roberts could very well be the Opening Day Columbus rotation, though Cody Anderson will likely bump someone out of the rotation..assuming of course that he loses out to Josh Tomlin. Adam Plutko may have start the season in Akron, which is a good problem to have for an organization that in recent years was very thin in starting pitching at the AA and AAA levels. Baker will begin the season on either the major-league or minor-league Disabled List as he recovers from Tommy John surgery.

Walters had a poor showing in major-league camp, though it is surprising that he'd be one of the first cuts. With a good camp he could have made team as a utility player. But perhaps he hasn't gotten his swing back after off-season shoulder surgery, and the club felt that he needed regular at-bats in "B" games.

Selected MLB Transactions

March 10

Baltimore Orioles signed 1B Pedro Alvarez to a one-year, $5.75M contract; Released RHP Andrew Triggs

Alvarez was non-tendered by the Pirates in early December. He has value at the plate, especially if you can platoon him with somebody, but is a major liability in the field, whether it's at third or first. The Orioles plan to use him mainly as a DH, which should help both the Orioles and Alvarez.

March 11

Seattle Mariners claimed C Rob Brantly off waivers from the Chicago White Sox; placed RHP Ryan Cook on the 60-day Disabled List (strained right lat muscle)

Brantly played sparingly for Chicago in 2015, and with the Sox bringing in two free agent catcher, Brantly wasn't going to make the team, and he was out of options. He should compete for the Seattle backup job, though.

Once upon a time, Cook was part of the deal that sent Jarrod Parker and Collin Cowgil to Oakland. He was signed by Seattle after Oakland non-tendered him this past December, but now won't pitch with the Mariners until at least June.

Pittsburgh Pirates signed 3B David Freese to a one-year, $3.0M contract

I'm a bit surprised that it took this long for Freese to land with a team, but it was on a major-league deal. Freese will play third base until Jung-Ho Kang returns to action, then form a platoon with John Jaso at first base.

March 13

Oakland Athletics claimed RHP Andrew Triggs off waivers from Baltimore Orioles; placed RHP Jarrod Parker on 60-day Disabled List (fractured right elbow)

The big news here is Parker's injury, but for transaction aficionados, the waiver is interesting as well. But let's talk about Parker first. The specific injury was termed a "fractured right medial epicondyle," but for anyone who doesn't work in the medical field, it's the part of the humerus (upper arm) that attaches to the UCL, one of the ligaments of the elbow. It's both a rare and serious injury, especially for a pitcher, and there's no set timetable for Parker's return. Parker hasn't pitched since the 2013 postseason, so what looked like a long recovery before this injury got even longer.

And now for the waiver claim. The Orioles placed Triggs on release waivers after signing Pedro Alvarez earlier in the week. Normally a player would be "designated for assignment," and if he cleared waivers, could have been outrighted to the minors, but because Triggs was added to the 40-man roster this winter, the Orioles couldn't do that. As Athletics Nation noted, the rule is put in place so teams can't abuse the DFA rule in concert with the Rule 5 draft, DFAing a player after the Winter Meetings. So when they removed Triggs from the roster, they had to place him on release waivers, and had he cleared those, he would have been a free agent, eligible to sign with any organization. The A's, however, decided to claim him, making all the above moot.

AL Central Roster Preview: Detroit Tigers

Detroit March 2016

As has been the case for the last decade, the Tigers are built to win now, despite a poor 2015 campaign. The Tigers traded Yoenis Cespdes and David Price at the deadline last July, but that wasn't a sign that they'd be rebuilding. Instead, they signed Jordan Zimermann, Justin Upton, and Mike Pelfrey and traded for Francisco Rodriguez in an attempt to compete again in 2016.

The main question regarding this roster isn't whether ownership will be able to spend (boy, have they!), but whether the core part of the club can keep producing at high levels as they age. Miguel Cabrera, Ian Kinsler, and Justin Verlander are approaching their mid-30s, while Victor Martinez will be 37 and coming off an injury-plagued season.