Chicago Cubs: Should the North Siders bring back Alex Avila?
Solid offensive production
As stated above, Avila is having himself a solid 2017 campaign at the plate. His OPS+ of 125 between the Tigers and Cubs is well above league average, while his 14 home runs and 48 RBI in 101 games is also impressive.
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Avila’s offensive production goes deeper than just the 2017 season. In 2011, Avila’s first and only All-Star Game appearance, he hit .295 with 19 home runs and 82 RBI in 141 games played. Along with that, Avila notched an OPS+ of 142 that season and won a Sliver Slugger award.
In a career that spans nine years and 841 games, Avila has proven to be a reliable guy to get on base. While Avila’s career batting average sits at a modest .243, his career OBP is more than 100 points higher at .351.
Overall, Avila has been the definition of an average offensive player. His 105 career OPS+ shows that. For a catcher that has not appeared in more than 141 games in a season, that is a solid number.
With over seven years of major league service time, Avila is one of the more experienced position players on the Cubs’ roster. In fact, Avila has more major league service time than all the other catchers on the Cubs’ current active roster.
Two of the catchers currently on the active roster are rookies (Victor Caratini and Taylor Davis).
Without Miguel Montero to provide veteran experience to these rookies and a still maturing Willson Contreras, re-signing Avila would make a lot of sense.
The cost is cheap
As stated above, Avila signed a one-year deal worth $2 million last off-season. After what will no doubt be a solid season, Avila will likely want a raise. Even so, there is still plenty of meat on the bone if the Cubs wish to extend Avila this winter.
Even if Avila wants a two or three-year contract worth $20-25 million, the Cubs would be paying him less than the $14 million Miguel Montero made in 2016.
For a veteran voice in the clubhouse and a better bat than Montero’s, the Cubs would be crazy not to spend $8-12 million a year on Avila.