By Sam Bush

Jose Alvarado and the Phillies settled at $3.45 million for one year, avoiding an arbitration hearing that had been scheduled for Friday.

The 27-year-old Alvarado came to the Phils from the Rays in a three-team deal with the Dodgers. It was one of the first swaps president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski made upon being hired in Philadelphia and has proven to be a key pickup, as Alvarado has emerged as one of the team’s best relievers.

Over the past two seasons, Alvarado has averaged 99.6 mph on his sinker and fanned 32% of his opponents while working to a 3.71 ERA. That mark is weighed down a bit by a 2021 season in which Alvarado walked an alarming 18.7% of his opponents, but he pared that number down to 11.2% in 2022 while also upping his strikeout rate to a mammoth 37.9%. This past season’s 3.18 ERA is sharp to begin with, but metrics like FIP (1.92) and SIERA (2.37) feel he’s been even better.

Alvarado has saved seven games for the Phillies and piled up another 38 holds over the past two seasons, cementing himself as one of the organization’s most trusted options in high-leverage settings. He’ll join a high-octane group of relievers in the late innings under manager Rob Thomson, including righty Seranthony Dominguez and offseason acquisitions Gregory Soto and Craig Kimbrel.

The 2022 season will be a crucial one for Alvarado, who’ll be entering his final season of club control. Given his age, elite velocity, strikeout prowess and outstanding ability to miss bats (16.7% swinging-strike rate; 37.3% opponents’ chase rate), Alvarado could position himself as one of the top relievers on the market next offseason with another year like his 2022 campaign.

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