Back in 2015, the Dodgers inked young Cuban flamethrower Yadier Alvarez to a $16 million deal with the hopes that he could be a dominant force in the rotation or, at worst, a lights out closer. Hopes were so high that that $16 million deal also came with a $16 million penalty for exceeding the international signing cap.
After 5 seasons with the club, through ups and downs and disciplinary measures and ineffectiveness, Alvarez was designated for assignment on February 29, 2020.
The baseball world hasn’t heard much from Yadier since then. However, that changed last week when MLB writer Francys Romero posted a video of the right-hander on Twitter.
Cuban RHP and former Dodgers top prospect Yadier Alvarez (25) has high expectations for 2022 and is looking to reach MLB. He has trained every day this offseason in Miami with Maels Rodriguez (100 MPH CLUB Academy). pic.twitter.com/LHZMqpVCEa
— Francys Romero (@francysromeroFR) February 17, 2022
At his best, the one-time top prospect was a rising star in the Dodger farm system. Baseball America had him rated as high as 26th in all of baseball. He was a 2017 Minor League All-Star, pitching for the World Team in the Futures Game.
Then things quickly came apart.
Alvarez admitted in the past to being childish and not working hard. He walked away from the Double-A Tulsa team because he “didn’t want to play baseball anymore.” The Dodgers eventually placed him on the restricted list late in 2019 and he eventually met with a psychologist.
Yadier Álvarez, former top prospect, spoke to reporters. He has had discipline issues during his unproductive four-season tenure with the Dodgers. He said several times the has been “acting like a child” and resolved to act more professionally. A psychologist helped him, he said.
— Pedro Moura (@pedromoura) February 19, 2020
He returned to the team for the start of spring training in 2020 where a self-diagnosed injury caused him to miss a Cactus League start. The team DFA’d Alvarez soon after.
Over 5 minor league seasons, the pitcher went 9-13 with a 4.07 ERA across 214.1 innings pitched.