MLB Offseason 2017: Top 50 free agents

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PITTSBURGH, PA – SEPTEMBER 06: Alex Avila #13 of the Chicago Cubs hits a RBI triple in the ninth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on September 6, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

 49. Alex Avila

For three months this season, catcher/first baseman Alex Avila was looking like one of the more uplifting comeback stories in the league. After an All-Star season in 2011, concussions derailed Avila’s promising career. He hit just .222/.337/.362 over the next five seasons with 42 home runs.

Avila signed back with his father’s team the Detroit Tigers last December for $2 million. It was hard to look at the deal as anything but nepotism. Avila would prove the doubters wrong, however. He hit .299/.423/.535 in the first half with 11 home runs and 29 RBI in 64 games. Avila became a desirable bench bat and was traded to the Chicago Cubs at the deadline.

With the Cubs, Avila struggled to adjust to a more limited role and hit .239/.369/.380 in 35 games with three home runs and 17 RBI. He made 70 starts on the year behind the plate, which seems like his ceiling going forward. Pushing him to catch much more with his history should be out of the question.

Avila is still only 30 years old and maintains a very disciplined approach at the plate. His place is in the American League where he can DH and play first base with limited catching duties. He is still an above-average defensive catcher, but is more valuable for his ability to deliver solid at-bats. The New York Yankees may prove to be an ideal home, where Avila can DH and back up Gary Sanchez and Greg Bird.

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