I’ve been waiting for the Diamondbacks to sign Alex Avila for months. It’s not like it’s been some obsession, and it’s not something I’ve thought about every single day, but the fit just always seemed more or less perfect. Avila is younger than the departed Chris Iannetta, and, unlike Iannetta, he swings from the left side, which makes him a better partner for Jeff Mathis. Importantly, Avila had a highly promising 2017; importantly, he was never going to cost a fortune, and the Diamondbacks are dealing with limited financial flexibility. It’s a move that I thought was inevitable. Oftentimes, those inevitable moves fail to come to fruition, but at least this one is finally crossing the finish line. Avila is joining the Diamondbacks, on a two-year contract.
He’s going to get paid $8.25 million, and there are additionally some modest incentives. Avila’s likely to be something of a semi-regular, and last year’s 112 games played was his highest total since 2014. When a team uses Avila, he should be platooned, because southpaws just give him awful fits. There are so many reasons to just see this news and move right on by it, like seeing that David Hernandez signed with the Reds. But in case you don’t play much with Statcast tools, Avila’s 2017 was outstanding. He resembled, by one measure, a frightening threat.