According to MLB.com’s Jon Morosi, the Chicago Cubs have their eye on the Detroit Tigers’ catcher Alex Avila as the trade deadline looms.
Following David Ross’ retirement last year, the Chicago Cubs were relying on Miguel Montero to be the veteran presence behind the plate in 2017. However, Chicago designated their veteran catcher for assignment following his comments made about Jake Arrieta’s start against the Washington Nationals in which the duo allowed seven stolen bases in four innings.
The Cubs seem eager to add another veteran behind the plate, making Detroit’s Avila a likely, and underrated, candidate to end up on the North Side before the trade deadline.
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Avila’s immediate impact on the team would be in defensive efficiency.
Cubs catchers have made the most errors in the league, with Willson Contreras leading the way with seven throwing errors. .
In 287 innings of work this year, Avila has only committed one error. The 30-year-old backstop has also thrown out 10 of 16 runners, or 62.5 percent. By contrast, Contreras has thrown out 52 percent of runners.
Contreras is certainly still the number one option behind the plate. But, Avila’s veteran presence will hopefully contribute to Contreras’ maturation process.
Though many Cubs fans won’t admit it these days, Montero came up with some timely hits in his time with the team.
On the other hand, Avila has had a much better offensive season than Montero this year. The lefty is hitting .315 with 11 home runs and 28 RBI in 56 games. Most notably, Avila has a .426 BABIP and a .272 ISO.
Montero is not having a bad season statistically, but his ability to produce runs hasn’t noticeably helped the Cubs offense as much as Avila’s does for the Tigers. Avila has created 25 more runs than Montero and his offensive WAR is 2.1 points higher. His 1.107 OPS is the highest in the league among catchers.