Did you need some good news this Friday morning? If you didn’t already know, Michael Pineda is reportedly back with the Minnesota Twins for two years (pending a physical), and you can read that here. The Twins are starting to make some more headway to fill off season needs as they have also reportedly agreed to a one-year, $4.25 million deal with free-agent catcher Alex Avila.
Avila will be entering his age-33 season in 2020 and has seen a long career behind the plate with the Detroit Tigers, Chicago White Sox, Chicago Cubs, and most recently the Arizona Diamondbacks. The veteran hits left-handed, which is probably not what he was signed for as he has hit only .184/.324/.358 in 435 plate appearances with the D-backs the past two years, and throws right-handed. According to baseball-reference.com, he’s not challenged much when behind the plate when it comes to base-runners. He caught 52% of base stealers last season, compared to the league’s 26%. He’s been above average in the department for the past five seasons. Avila is quite durable as a backup catcher, catching 54 games last year and 61 games the year before. He can also fill in at first base as needed (just like the rest of the roster, amirite?) as he’s seen a few games at that position throughout his career.
The Twins had a question mark behind Mitch Garver at backstop following 2019. Although Willians Astudillo was (and probably still is) a viable option to be the second-string catcher, the Falvine duo may rely on La Tortuga as more of a utility player/third-string catcher for the upcoming season. The was some speculation that Jason Castro could come back for the Twins, but that has obviously been put to rest.
Welcome aboard, Avila!