So, what do you think? Legit? Not legit? Designed to put pressure on the teams with veteran, defense-first, back-up catchers?
Here’s the report:
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) July 30, 2017
Avila was long rumored to be a Cubs trade target, and then fell off the map in favor of more traditional back-up targets like Rene Rivera and A.J. Ellis. Avila is having a breakout offensive year, and although he’s not thought of as a glove guy, he’s certainly passable behind the plate.
My question about the Cubs pursuing Avila this trade season never really had to do with the desirability of adding him. Getting that big-time lefty bat in the mix, resting Willson Contreras more often to keep him fresh and optimize match-ups, having a sure-fire starter in case an injury happens – these are all great reasons to want Avila on this team.
Instead, my question was more about the acquisition price tag, given that Avila could represent a starting upgrade for some other contenders out there, and often, the price tag moves accordingly. The Cubs could get almost as much *total* value from a defensively-inclined veteran back-up for a much, much lesser price.
Just a couple days ago, Ken Rosenthal reported that Avila was not the Cubs’ preference:
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 28, 2017
Avila’s been in a bit of a cold slump lately, but his season line is still a very strong .271/.392/.472 with a *league-best* 50.4% hard hit rate.
So, then, do I think the Cubs will land Avila? Well, if it’s a bigger combo deal for Avila and an arm like Justin Wilson? Hey, go big, I guess. But it wouldn’t surprise me if the Cubs are exploring their options in a final way before pulling the trigger on a defense-first, traditional back-up catcher (and maybe getting the price down a little bit in the process).
We’ll see. And now you’ll start saying things about an Avila-Justin Verlander combo …