The Orioles have agreed to terms with Cuban outfielder Dariel Alvarez, according to an industry source.
The Orioles scouted Alvarez in Fort Lauderdale last month, as did four other clubs. He will report to the club’s spring training facility for a physical and then officially sign a deal as early as this weekend. Because the deal isn’t finalized, the source couldn’t disclose the signing bonus.
The 24-year-old Alvarez defected from Cuba last summer, played in Mexico and was declared a free agent in January and is now living in Florida.
The Orioles consider Alvarez a five-tool player who can play all three outfield positions and can quickly move up the team’s minor league system, much like Cuban defector Henry Urrutia, who will likely join the major league club on Friday after just 67 minor league games.
Alvarez is the second Cuban outfielder the Orioles have signed under executive vice president Dan Duquette. Last July, the team gave Urrutia a $778,500 signing bonus, but he didn’t arrive in the U.S. until March. Once Urrutia arrived, his offensive skills were apparent quickly. He hit .365/.427/.531 between Double-A and Triple-A.
The Dodgers, Yankees, Rangers, Royals, Mariners, Padres and Diamondbacks reportedly showed interest in Alvarez.
Because Alvarez is over the age of 23 and played professionally in Cuba for three years, he won’t count against the Orioles’ international bonus pool figures. The Orioles traded their No. 3 and 4 international bonus slots to the Cubs earlier this month to acquire right-hander Scott Feldman.