Detroit Tigers: Grading Team’s Offseason Moves
Signing Alex Avila
The Detroit Tigers needed to find a backup catcher for James McCann during the offseason.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia provided a boost at times last year, but he ended the year with a 277 wOBA, a 284 on-base percentage and a 35.6 strikeout percentage.
In his place, Detroit brought back Alex Avila, who spent 2016 with the division-rival Chicago White Sox.
Not only does Avila have familiarity with the Tigers pitching staff, but he is also coming off a solid season on the South Side of Chicago.
The backstop posted his best numbers in years, as he turned in a .332 on-base percentage, a 104 wRC+, a .160 ISO and a 1.1 WAR.
Avila also brings a more consistent bat to Detroit’s bench, as Saltalamacchia contributed only 30 hits that weren’t home runs.
In an offensive sense, the longtime Tiger is actually an offensive upgrade over the slugging former Diamondback.
If Avila can post numbers similar to those he put up in Chicago in his return to the Motor City, the Tigers will benefit greatly.
Entering Spring Training, the catcher is one of just two bench players who is a likely lock to make the team. The other is utility ace Andrew Romine.