Baltimore Orioles: Need a veteran catcher & Alex Avila is available
The latest rumors about the Baltimore Orioles are all about catchers. The team has plenty of young arms who can work behind the dish, but they do not have a veteran to guide them.
According to an article from Roch Kubatko from MASNSports, the Baltimore Orioles could be in the market for a veteran. And, one who can bat from the left side.
There are currently three catchers on the 40-man roster, Caleb Joseph, Chance Sisco, and Austin Wynns. Of the trio, Joseph is the only veteran and he is expected to platoon with someone else. Who that person will be is unknown.
Too many unknowns in the O’s 40-man roster
Wynns and Sisco are both minor league catchers who might be able to earn their way to a platoon position during Spring Training. But the Orioles need more than a “might be”. Sisco is one of the top prospects in the system and he bats from the left side, which is a rarity in Birdland. Wynns is a right-handed hitter who was protected from the Rule-5 Draft.
Why Avila would be a good choice
Fortunately for the Orioles, there are a few catchers available. And, one had an outstanding year batting from the left side. Alex Avila started the 2017 season with the Detroit Tigers where he platooned with James McCann. With the Tigers, he batted a slash of .274/.394/.475 with 11 home runs and 32 RBIs in 219 plate appearances. He finished the season with the Chicago Cubs, but he did not see much time behind the dish, so his stats dropped off.
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When he has regular reps, Avila sees the ball and can hit for power. Along with catching, he can fill in at first base and he does well as a designated hitter. Better yet, he only made $2 million in 2017 and he would most likely continue to be a low-cost catcher with a desirable left-handed bat. As a hot hitter in the first half of the season, he might ask for a little more – but nothing crazy.
Hits home runs in big parks
All of his home runs were hit off of right-handed pitchers and the majority of them were hit at home, mostly at Comerica Park – which is one of the hardest parks to hit home runs. Avila is a real team player whose quiet disposition is misleading. He is a competitor who can call a good game and can come through in a clutch moments. He even knows how to beat the shift.
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Avila and Joseph would be a solid platoon for the Orioles. The two would certainly complement each other, as Joseph did hit slightly better against left-handed pitchers. Avila would also be a good guide for the young catchers as he has caught for some of the best in the MLB including Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander, Rick Porcello, Jake Arrieta, and Chris Sale. That’s quite a resume.