Alex Avila Could Be Next Tiger Traded, Cubs Have Reportedly Expressed Strongest Interest

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Alex Avila Could Be Next Tiger Traded, Cubs Have Reportedly Expressed Strongest Interest

Chicago Cubs

The Detroit Tigers are among a handful of crystal clear sellers this year, and have already moved corner outfielder J.D. Martinez to the Diamondbacks for a surprisingly light return.

Next up, they could be trading catcher Alex Avila … will it be to the Cubs?

Those tweets certainly read like a lot more than mere speculation on Nightengale’s part, so this should be watched closely.

We’ve talked about Avila at length here, here, and here, among other places, and his named popped up again in local reports today, too. The smoke is billowing.

And it makes sense, because the fit really is quite strong: Avila is a veteran backstop who hits well from the left side (the Cubs’ starter, Willson Contreras, bats righty), plays good defense, and won’t kill you framing pitches (he’s solidly below average, but is not among the death tier). He could join the team, and split time with Contreras, if not 50/50, then something like 60/40 in favor of Contreras. It’s certainly not like you want to see Contreras sitting more, but you also don’t want him to wear down, and with rookie Victor Caratini as his back-up, that very well could happen.

(Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)

Avila, 30, also happens to be hitting a whopping .286/.413/.508 this year, which is, yes, inflated by an unsustainable .393 BABIP, but is far from a fluke when the guy is walking 17.4% of the time and making 53.1%(!!!) hard contact. So, you know, it’s not like you wouldn’t want to see him in the lineup, too.

Adding to the value here is that Avila makes just $2 million this year, so adding him wouldn’t seriously imperil the Cubs’ standing vis a vis the luxury tax cap.

Your only potential issues in a trade here are that (1) Avila has dealt with injury issues that have sapped his productivity in the recent past, and (2) he would seem to have “starter” value on the trade market, especially given the low salary. The Martinez trade return gives me pause, though, and it’s notable that Nightengale specifically says “mid-level prospect”. That’s mostly what the Cubs have these days, but there are very few singular prospects in the system that you wouldn’t trade for Avila.

We will watch this closely. The deadline is 11 days away, but the Tigers and Cubs have already demonstrated confidence in making early moves.

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.