Signing Alex Avila to Serve as James McCann’s Backup
While much of the Detroit Tigers starting offense stayed together, the team did remake the bench unit.
With Saltalamacchia leaving, the team needed a new backstop to serve as the top option behind James McCann.
As it would happen, the team signed the player who Salty was initially brought in to replace—Alex Avila.
Purely based on 2016 numbers alone, Avila served as a significant upgrade to the former Ranger.
Saltalamacchia provided 12 home runs and little else for the Tigers. In 292 plate appearances, he collected just 30 hits that didn’t leave the yard. What’s more, he also punched out 104 times.
In came Avila, who post comparatively superior numbers across the board in his lone season with the White Sox.
So far in 2017, Avila has been Detroit’s best player from a WAR standpoint with a 0.8 number in the category.
Thanks to his hot start at the plate (.424 ISO, 249 wRC+, 1.256 OPS and four home runs), the veteran has seen more starts behind the plate, as well as added time at first base with Miguel Cabrera sidelined.