Detroit Tigers Spring Training Preview: Breaking Down Reserve Catching Options
By Ben Rosener
Detroit Tigers catcher Alex Avila returns to the organization after spending a season with the Chicago White Sox. Here’s a look at Detroit’s other catching options.
Detroit Tigers general manager Al Avila has remade the bench this offseason.
Veterans Casey McGehee and Erick Aybar left via free agency, while Anthony Gose was designated for assignment.
One other notable change will be behind the dish.
James McCann remains the starter, but the 26-year-old will have a different deputy in 2017.
Like McGehee and Aybar, Jarrod Saltalamacchia also hit the open market and ended up signing elsewhere.
The veteran capped off his Detroit career by hitting just .171 with a .284 on-base percentage in 92 games.
While Saltalamacchia had a tendency for going down on strikes (35.6 strike out percentage), he did provide some pop.
In 292 plate appearances, the reserve mashed 12 home runs while contributing 38 RBI and 30 runs scored.
All told, his ISO finished at .175 while the backstop’s wRC+ checked in at 69.
Saltalamacchia will be replaced by a familiar face in Alex Avila.
The longtime Tiger spent 2016 in Chicago, where he logged a 1.1 WAR, a .160 ISO and a 104 wRC+ in 57 games for the White Sox.
What’s more, the veteran posted a .359 on-base percentage while smacking seven home runs.
Considering he was Detroit’s lone Major League signing, Avila will probably open the season as McCann’s backup.
However, he isn’t the only reserve catching option the Tigers have in camp.
In addition to Avila, here Detroit’s other reserve backstops.