O's welcome balance, more power in Alvarez

O's welcome balance, more power in Alvarez

SARASOTA, Fla. -- A powerful Orioles lineup got even better on Thursday afternoon, as Baltimore officially welcomed Pedro Alvarez on a one-year deal.

Alvarez, a left-handed hitter, helps balance an O's lineup full of righties. His presence, along with first baseman Chris Davis, gives the Orioles home run power at virtually every spot in the batting order, Nos. 1-9.

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"At the end of the day, I thought that it was just the best fit, and what [transpired] between said parties, I think was something that was done very well, very professional," Alvarez said. "Who wouldn't want to come and potentially be in a lineup with the guys that are here already? You know the staff that's here, very respected. Just a well-rounded organization. It's got a lot of pros to being here, and obviously those are things that played into the decision."

Alvarez could be a big factor

Alvarez hit a National League-leading 36 home runs in 2013 while earning NL All-Star honors, and he hit 131 career homers in six seasons with the Pirates.

"I believe Pedro will be comfortable in Baltimore when he hits one out to left center-field that would have been caught in Pittsburgh," executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said. "That's when he'll feel at home at Camden Yards. He's got the power to hit a lot of balls to left field. The park is a lot more hitter-friendly than the home park he's been playing at. So, I think it's a good fit for everybody, and we are looking forward to having him on the club."

The No. 2 overall pick in the 2008 Draft, Alvarez has had issues defensively. He was moved off third base in 2014 and struggled to adapt full time to first base in '15 before being non-tendered this offseason by Pittsburgh -- where he spent his entire career.

MLB Tonight on Alvarez to O's

"We're going to embrace what they do well," manager Buck Showalter said of Alvarez benefitting defensively from the change of scenery. "It doesn't keep us from trying. Keep in mind this guy was the second pick in the country, and if he doesn't hit 60 home runs, there was something wrong. He was supposed to lead [the Pirates] out of the [basement] ... and all of a sudden, he's over here with a bunch of guys and nobody cares what he came into. There's a nice window of opportunity for this guy. ... There's nothing wrong with the scenery he left. He's a good fit for us.

"What really didn't get mentioned is how nails [owner] Mr. [Peter] Angelos has been this offseason. Every time we talked about something, he said, 'Go do it.' You look at all the things we did, and not that it surprises me, it's a great confidence that he's showing in our players and our staff and our organization that he [listens] when we tell him what we might need."

Justice: Alvarez should thrive with Orioles

Despite being a late addition, Alvarez praised the Orioles for already doing an "amazing" job welcoming him. Nearly a dozen players were on hand during his news conference, with close friend -- and former Vanderbilt teammate -- Ryan Flaherty among them.

"Me and Ryan have had a close relationship since college, and the thought of playing alongside him was a good thought," said Alvarez, who could make his Grapefruit League debut next week. "I'm glad I get to be in the same clubhouse as him."

Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.