JUST IN: Tigers bring back C Alex Avila with one-year deal


The Detroit Tigers announced today that they have signed a familiar face. They’re bringing back catcher Alex Avila on a one-year deal, according to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports. The deal is worth $2 million.

The Tigers parted ways with Avila after the 2015 season and spent the 2016 season on the south side of Chicago for the White Sox, albeit only 57 games played. Looks like Tigers GM Al Avila just gave his son an early Christmas gift.

The younger Avila spent his first seven big league seasons donning the olde English D. He played in over 680 career games with the Tigers from 2009-15, posting a slash line of .242/.345/.397. Defensively and leadership wise, few are better than Alex as evident by a career .995 fielding percentage behind the dish and a caught stealing percentage near 30 percent.

Another interesting tidbit is Avila’s catching ERA. It’s basically the catcher’s equivalent of the pitcher’s predominant statistic, how well a pitching staff does when a particular catcher is behind the dish. In his eight big league seasons, Avila’s cERA is a 3.96, a notch below the MLB average of 4.01 during that span. Conversely, Tigers catching incumbent James McCann holds a 4.41 cERA in his 2+ major league seasons, modestly over the 3.96 MLB average during his time. However, he saw improvement in that area between his rookie (4.65 cERA) and sophomore (4.18 cERA) campaigns.

The 2011 All-Star Avila will presumably serve as the backup for McCann, ultimately providing for a left-handed option at the plate.