The Detroit Tigers tied up a loose end on Friday night, avoiding arbitration with catcher Alex Avila.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported the deal:
Avila signs for 2014 with a 2015 option with #Tigers. Gets $4.15M in ’14. Opt for $5.4M or $200K buyout.
— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) January 31, 2014
Avila is a career .246 hitter whose production was hurt dramatically by a concussion and wrist injuries in 2013.
In his rookie season (2011) Avila took the league by storm, batting .295/.389/.506 with 19 home runs and 82 RBI. Some of those numbers were already declining in the seasons since, but in 2013 they truly plummeted (.227/.317/.376 in 102 games).
At age 27, Avila still offers more upside offensively than many catchers around the league. You can interpret the impact of a concussion on his game in one of two ways: you can take it as the reason for his struggles and hope for better things soon, or you can look at the career arc of a guy like Justin Morneau and wonder if Avila will ever be the same.
Behind the plate Avila should benefit from the presence of new manager Brad Ausmus, a former catcher. Avila is still fairly young, so hopefully these injuries do not derail his career long-term and he is able to turn things around in 2014.