Alvarez, 25, was non-tendered by the Marlins in November, ending a three year stint with the club. The decision was a bit of a surprise, even though Alvarez is dealing with shoulder issues. The reason this is a surprise is that 2016 is not Alvarez's last under team control. He still is technically under contract for 2017, too.
Cotillo reported that Alvarez will make $4.25 million as a base salary in his new deal with Oakland. He can earn up to an additional $1.6 million in games started incentives, possibly pushing his total salary to $5.85 million.
Alvarez can also be controlled by the Athletics in 2017 through the arbitration process, making this a calculated risk by Billy Beane and company in the front office. A one-time All-Star, Alvarez could end up paying big dividends in Oakland.
Last season, Alvarez struggled, going 0-4 with a 6.45 ERA in 22 1/3 innings pitched. He underwent shoulder surgery in July and missed the rest of the season. Shoulder injuries are considered tricker than elbows, so it is hard to know when he will be back. Recent reports have suggested that Alvarez may be ready by Opening Day so that appears to be a good sign.
In 2014, Alvarez looked ready to lead the Marlins' staff alongside Jose Fernandez. He went 12-7 with a 2.65 ERA and a 111 to 33 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 187 innings pitched. According to FanGraphs, he was worth 2.1 Wins Above Replacement.
Alvarez is the second free agent starting pitcher the A's have signed this offseason, after Rich Hill. Oakland's staff consists of Sonny Gray, Jesse Hahn, Hill, Chris Bassit, and now Alvarez. They look to climb back into contention in the American League in 2016.