The Nationals and free-agent catcher Alex Avila have reached a one-year agreement, pending a physical, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. Avila is a client of Excel Sports Management.
Washington will be the sixth major league team for Avila, who will turn 34 on Friday. Most of Avila’s career has been spent in Detroit, which Jon Heyman of MLB Network notes vied for a reunion this offseason, but he was a member of the Twins last season. Avila has typically been known for logging low batting averages and high on-base percentages, and he did just that in Minnesota, with which he batted .184/.355/.286 with one home run in 62 plate appearances. The total lack of power was out of the norm for Avila, who has posted a .394 slugging percentage and swatted 104 homers across 3,527 trips to the plate in the majors.
Most of the damage the left-handed Avila has done on offense has come off righty pitchers, and he should get the majority of his playing time against them in 2021. Avila will complement the Nationals’ starting backstop, Yan Gomes, who bats from the right side. Notably, Gomes has fared much better at the plate versus lefties than righties throughout his career. He and Avila could make up a formidable offensive tandem if they perform the way they usually do offensively.
On the defensive side, Avila had difficulty as a pitch framer last season, ranking in Statcast’s 31st percentile in that category. However, Avila has never had much trouble throwing out would-be base stealers. His lifetime 30 percent caught-stealing rate checks in a few points above the league average. As Jessica Camerato of MLB.com points out, Avila will catch past teammates in Max Scherzer, Patrick Corbin and Jon Lester in D.C.
Nationals have to be WS favorites now right?
You guys blew a 3-1 lead in the NLCS, like 5 minutes ago. I don’t think Braves fans are allowed to talk smack for awhile. Plus, you guys haven’t won anything in a long time anyway. The Nats just won a championship. Also, you won like 37 division titles in the 90’s and had a rotation full of goats, and you won 1 title. Shhhhh.
I don’t think he was being sarcastic? He has no reason to be.
they’re still a better team right now so…
Dude. Take a breath.
Relax braves fans always do this it’s not like they have a better catching situation and avila is a perfect backup catcher on an nl east team, throw him in there on a day against degrom/nola/syndergaard/sixto/anderson and soroka if he gets back this season.
Edit forgot ab travis he should be better than yan offensively
Dude, It was a joke. Chill
I mean they really are a pretty good team with Strasburg coming back and they made some nice moves this off-season
Whoa! Try some indica it will help you out
Thanks for reminding everyone that the Nats won a title in 2019. No one seems to remember or care. That’s how irrelevant that franchise is. When the Astros receive more recognition off cheating than a team that beats them in the World Series, that says a lot. You’re right in bringing up the Braves history, just because Washington won a title in 2019 it doesn’t erase their past. They’ll go back to losing the first round again, if they even make the playoffs. The Nats are 1 and done. Enjoy it while you can. A few years down the road and it’s ancient history.
Yea… your average Braves fans here
FW, nice to see that you speak for the entire baseball industry when you say no one remembers the Nats title in ’19. The only people who dont remember are passive baseball fans. But keep letting that angst out if it makes ya feel better.
If the Nats pitching is healthy I’d argue they are better than the Braves. It’s very close.
Braves are better built to make it through a regular season. They are the favorites until they are unseated.
Nats need another impact bat before they are a real threat in 2021.. unless the rotation rebounds to elite form.
The Nats don’t have room in their lineup for another bat really. All their positions are set. I guess they could conceivably sign a third baseman but the Nats seem to be committed to giving Kieboom another shot at proving himself and the only guy out there that could be considered an ‘impact bat’ would be JT. The Nats season is going to depend on, as you say, the rotation getting back to their elite status and Bell and Schwarber bouncing back. If those two things happen the Nats are probably better than the Braves.
They have plenty of room. Ill believe Kieboom is getting another shot as an opening day 3B when it happens..
Havent gave up on him, but he was abysmal last year being given that shot.. He needs to reprove himself in the minors. Plenty of time for the Nats to do something.
@iml12 You can’t count on Stras’ health at this point. I still wouldn’t call them better than the Braves even if healthy. I don’t even think they were better than the Braves the year they won the WS. All that being said, I’m not sleeping on the Nats. Could have a bounce back year and take the division or a wild card. Could also finish in 4th or 5th. The division is tough from top to bottom, and the Nats aren’t far away.
I’d put the Nats middle of the pack, below the Braves and Mets but ahead of the Phillies and Marlins.
Whoa! Try some indica it will help you out
Makes sense. Can platoon with Gomes.
But didn’t they just sign Swihart?
I believe swihart plays LF more then catcher now
A very solid backup catcher. Good arm, good defense, good power. Strikes out too often and has notable contact issues, but also good at taking his walks. Left-handed hitting backup catchers with his skill set are very useful. He knows his role and can call a good game. Like him, he could play on my team any day.
The Nats are soo so good with these platoon situations, and I don’t see this being much different. So now they’ve got C, 1B, 2B, SS, LF, CF, RF, and most of their pitching set. This is a sleeper team and a half right now and even more so if they trade for Suarez or Bryant. I think this team might be my new D-Backs. I’m very high on this club right now.
I think the Nats made the right moves this off-season. Def interested to see how the majors oldest rotation holds up with so many past injury questions.
Man, I know I’m old, and memory ain’t what it used to be, but does there seem to be more activity this year than previous years?
I think this is a decent pickup for the Nats also.
Meh as long as he can be a serviceable backup that plays good defense I’ll take it. Suarez away from being WS contenders, get it done Riz!
Suarez would cost the farm. Cincinnati would probably hand over Moustakas just to unload his contract. Not quite the same impact player as Suarez but he’d be a solid middle of the order bat.
I’d be happy with Moose if the Reds ate most of his salary.
Nats will probably be about $100mm UNDER the cap for 2022, even after ARB decisions for Soto & Turner. Instead of trading for a 3B now and giving up young talent, wait til the Fall when Arenado (opt out) and Kris Bryant are available. Secondly, Nats need to see what they have in a quality prospect like Kieboom, but they cant now after a mere 165 major league AB’s. Let him start at 3B and then evaluate it when the time comes.
Make sense. Main downside is not maximizing the team built now around its current starting pitching staff.
Trade for Ryan and sign porcello ( inning eater) with a better infield defense he will have better numbers than last year .
B-ryan-t you mean? Only logical player with Ryan even in there name
Maybe he should lay off the indica before commenting!
Nats are a better version of the Phillies to me. They both have beast rosters and can make a world series appearance on any given year with those rosters.
NL east is going to be so fun this season, literally every team has a shot.
I just don’t see it with the Phils. Outside of Bryce and JTR I don’t love the lineup. Pitching is the worst in the division. I see the Braves winning it with the Mets and Nats battling for second place.
@DM_Nats that Phillies lineup was the 5th best in baseball last season. Starting pitching was solid too. Bullpen was an absolute disaster. Phils still lacking in that area.
I have the Nats ahead of the Phillies right now, but it’s a coin flip really. Nats pitching staff is so old and a huge injury risk. Braves are still kings of the division until someone proves me otherwise. I have a hard time imagining the Mets not being really good. And the Marlins have the talent to make some noise.
I wouldn’t say the Phils are bad I just think they have the worst SP in the division, have the worst or second worst bullpen, and I think their strength is their offense but the Braves and Mets are better there. You could make the case for any team to win the division based off who can stay healthy, it’s going to be exciting. Just hope I can be back at my seats in section 103 at Nats Park
I’m not sold on Marlins (not trying to cause problems- just saying)- their rum differential did not support their final win loss record, and historically that’s a big sign of a team is going to step back. Particularly since they haven’t exactly mDe a bunch of quality acquisitions.
Marlins still have alot of work to do..
2020 was a great story, but they still arent ready to compete over 162…
They might be guppies
Gotta love owners that spend.
Alec Bohm, Rhys Hoskins, Bryce Harper, JT, Segura, most likely DD. That’s a good offense. The pitching I would be more concerned about. Outside of Nola and Wheeler it’s a weak Rotation with big questions in the pen. Phillies are a 75-80 win team in a strong nl east
Please stop. The NL East was supposed to be the best division for the last 2 years running and it’s been a dud. This year will be no different.
Thank god—thought my Tigers were getting Avila again. Alderson—get Suarez & Castillo for a Nimmo Davis Gsellman $ prospect package (NOT Allan Mauricio Alvarez Baty).
If you do not want Alex Avila catching instead of Greiner, Haase or Garneau, the Detroit Tigers certainly aren’t “your” Tigers. But obviously Avila jr. looks like a perfect fit for a platoon with Gomes in Washington.
No Nimmo or Springer then who plays outfield with Conforto?
Apropos for nothing, but this guy is on my roster constantly for OOTP baseball.
Just a prediction
NL West- Dodgers by 8+ games
NL Central- Cardinals by 1.this games
NL East Braves after Game 163 vs Washington (Combined 5 hit shutout. Max Fried(7IP)
AL West- Angels 2.5 games.
AL Central- White Sox 5 Ganes( they’re gonna win 9 out of 10 games in Mid Sept to clitch)
AL East – Yankees (similar to the Rays winning
on a walk off home runb a few years ago.) DJ LeMahieu walk off 3 run 2B. (Torres, Judge and Fraizer on the bases)
Stros’ are gonna win the West again, and I am almost certain. Don’t be surprised if Whitley finally comes up this year and balls out…
Rizzo methodically checking off items on the shopping list. I think the Nats roster is probably mostly set now except for perhaps another bullpen piece and the standard slew of minor league free agents. Excited to see how this reconstituted roster competes.
Need a 3B. Doubt Rizzo is rolling w Kieboom.
I dont blame you if you are not a Nats fan and know this, but Rizzo and Martinez have confidence in Kieboom
I am a Nats fan and I’m not sure they do, but they really have no choice. Nothing in the majors worst farm to trade for an impact 3B, aside from low level pitchers that they are very reluctant to trade.
Im a nats fan and they are confident in him but every move to this point has indicated rizzo sees an open window. I highly doubt he goes into the season with the job, rather as a plan B with somebody ahead of him that can be moved into a utility role if kieboom forces the issue (which he hopefully does)
That’s a pretty fair assessment.
@LH that’s what I was thinking too before they resigned Zimmerman. Now the roster spots are pretty limited. They can’t option both Kieboom and Garcia to the minors for more development time without adding someone who handle backup duties at SS. They’ll probably bring in a couple of unsigned free agents as minor league invites to compete with Kieboom and Garcia and see who earns a spot in spring training.
I don’t know if he can still play any Shortstop but I like Asdrubal, he takes solid at bats.
Could you see them bringing back Doolittle on a minor league contract or a contract with lots of incentives. He has been mostly effective in his Nats career.
No he’s done. 88 with no secondary pitches ain’t gunna cut it
Yep it is
Avila is the best guy in the majors to have runners in scoring position and strikeout or pop out weakly. He does occasionally hit monster home runs when his team is up by 10 or down by 10.
Hard to believe he’s not quite 34. Seems like he’s been catching in the bigs for longer, like he should be about the age of David Ross or at least Jeff Mathis.
I might of missed someone saying this but Avila was Scherzer’s catcher in Detroit. This is a good signing. I’m a Tigers fan and I get this one. Avila isn’t going to give you any kind of wow factor, but he walks a lot and doesn’t give up. Might even pop a home run or two when it matters.
He’ll make your team better.
Yeah he’s a nice backup C, as long as there is depth to keep him a backup if something happens to the starter.
Avila and Gomes will make an interesting platoon
Nats need a 3rd baseman. Kieboom not the answer. Surprised they haven’t made a move yet
castro can play there.
Throwing out that prospect mighty early aren’t ya?
Nice birthday for him.
Welcome to DC Alex. This looks like a typical late under the radar signing from MR. Avila will make a complimentary half of a catching tandem much like Kurt did the last few years. makes the team more solid in the field too.
Happy birthday Alex Avila
The jury is still out on Kieboom. No harsh judgements on solid prospects like him until they get 300-400 AB’s, and he’s not even close to that amount.
Disagree that The Nats “need” Suarez: If Kieboom flames out, put Castro there and call up Garcia to play 2B. Although at Age 20 I would prefer to see Garcia marinate 1-2 more years. We’ll see.
Nats should move Castro to 3B and sign Jonathan Schoop to play 2B. As we’ve seen the last two seasons you can get him on a reasonably inexpensive one year contract and probably get more than you’re money’s worth
Schoop’s a good player, but not sure he’s a fit for The Nats in 2021. Other than Turner & Soto they lack top-of-the-lineup guys who can get on base, and their budget is almost spent too