The Tigers announced on Friday that they have signed free agent infielder Mike Aviles to a one-year, Major League contract. Aviles will receive $2MM plus a possible $300K in incentives, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman tweets. The 34-year-old Aviles is represented by The Legacy Agency.
Aviles has spent the bulk of his career in the American League Central, as his first four-and-a-half seasons were spent with the Royals, and he’s spent the past three years in Cleveland. He’ll be a depth piece in Detroit — a veteran right-handed bat that can serve as a backup at second base, third base, shortstop and in the corner outfield as well. In spite of that versatility, though, Aviles hasn’t hit much in recent seasons, batting a collective .244/.279/.345 over his three-year tenure with the Indians and posting an OPS+ of just 61 last season.
Though defensive metrics peg Aviles as below average around the infield this past season, he received positive marks in left field and has traditionally received positive marks at shortstop. (Given his age, questions about his range are at least fair to ask.) There’s value for any team in having a player who can capably handle four to five positions, though, even if he’s not a plus defender at any of those spots. And, given the presence of Andrew Romine on Detroit’s roster, manager Brad Ausmus will have a pair of highly versatile players to mix and match when other players incur injuries, need a day off or have been removed from games for various reasons.
Buster Olney of ESPN.com first reported the agreement, on Twitter.