We have Phillies news. No, it’s not about Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, or Madison Bumgarner, but we have Phillies news. The team announced this evening that it has acquired left-handed relief pitcher José Álvarez from the Los Angeles Angels in exchange for reliever Luis García.
— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) December 7, 2018
That Álvarez throws with his left hand in and of itself makes him appealing, given the Phillies’ had nobody that could effectively do so a season ago. They’ll hope that Álvarez, along with the newly-acquired James Pazos, can rectify that issue in 2019. Álvarez, like García, has two years of team control remaining and each will make similar money this upcoming season. The 29-year-old Álvarez posted a 2.71 ERA, 3.05 FIP, and 1.159 WHIP, while striking out 59 batters over 63 innings in 76 appearances last season. The Phillies probably also like that he generated a 45% ground ball rate and only surrendered three home runs, which, by the way, is something Hector Neris managed to achieve in a single inning during one June appearance last season.
In terms of pitch selection, he’s primarily a fastball/slider pitcher, having thrown those pitches a combined 63.7% of the time last season, but he also features a sinker and changeup. His slider was particularly effective. Opposing hitters only batted .171 with a .416 OPS against it last season. He was also tough on lefties, holding them to a .206 batting average and .603 OPS. Here he is in action:
— Los Angeles Angels (@Angels) April 15, 2018
As for Garcia, he has good stuff, and some of his advanced metrics were comparable, and in some cases, better than those of Álvarez in 2018, but to acquire an effective 29-year-old lefty in exchange for a 31-year-old righty that pitched to a 6.07 ERA last season has to be considered a win for the Phillies.