[tps_title]4. Bring back Alex Avila to back up James McCann[/tps_title]
Tigers catcher Alex Avila has been gradually trending down since his All-Star season in 2011. Injuries and countless blows to the head from foul balls have added to that slow decline. His batting average has dipped bit by bit. A lengthy absence in 2015 has seen the emergence of rookie catcher James McCann take over the everyday catching duties for years to come.
Avila is merely a shadow of himself from a handful of years ago. He now only plays once every few days, whether it be behind the dish or spelling Miguel Cabrera or Victor Martinez at first base. One part of Avila’s game that has been well-documented over the years is his ability to handle a pitching staff.
When the Tigers were in their stretch of four straight division crowns, Avila was right at the center of it, controlling the loaded pitching staff. His injuries this season have affected his ability to lead the struggling staff, but in a way, it’s been a blessing in disguise, allowing McCann to grow day by day.
Alex is a tricky situation, mainly because daddy is in charge of his future at season’s end. If I were father Al, I’d bring back my son on a 1-year deal at a couple million bucks to be the back-up for McCann. Having a fully healthy Avila around for an entire year for McCann to continue learning from would be beneficial for everyone. Not only will it help McCann, but Avila would provide some occasional pop from the left side and good plate discipline.
Avila’s future as a catcher, whether it be everyday or as a back-up, remains in question as far as length, but his a student of the game and catcher’s have to know everything going on within the game. Avila has proven that, and will be in the game of baseball for quite some time.