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Alex Avila should make the Tigers' roster

Jim Leyland told the media Monday he would announce all but one spot of his 25-man roster today.

While we've talked about the battle for the fifth starter in the rotation -- and its implications -- and we've talked about the 13th position player, what we haven't done is discuss the backup catcher.

There's a reason for that.

While several good arguments can be made for Robinzon Diaz starting the season with the Tigers, I've never really felt like that was going to happen.

To me, it's always been Alex Avila's job if Detroit is serious about "the best thing for the Detroit Tigers right now," in Leyland's words.

The best thing for Avila might be spending more time in Triple-A Toledo, starting four or five days a week and getting more in-game experience as a backstop. There doesn't seem to be any gaping holes in his game, but there's plenty of across-the-board improvement to be done. After all, he's only entering his third year of professional baseball after changing his position to catcher while at Alabama. So he's only logged 149 professional games at the position.

Actually, sometimes you forget his meteoric rise. He made his MLB debut during his first full professional season.

You know we give very little credence to spring training numbers around these parts. But Avila did hit .394 this spring with a .475 on-base percentage and .636 slugging average. Yeah, it probably means nothing. But it's substantially better than Diaz's .292 avg/slg, as could be expected.

Then we have the added bonus of having Avila bat left-handed, which complements starter Gerald Laird nicely and gives Leyland that pinch hit power threat off the bench (not that he always chooses to use it, with the desire to avoid using an emergency catcher.)

Add it all up and Avila makes the most sense and it isn't even close.

The final depth chart at

I don't expect to go to the depth chart and find giant spoilers like some sort of Lost fansite.

But, well, you never know. In any case, posted for posterity's sake are the "winners" as of Monday night.

Bullpen: Brad Thomas and Eddie Bonine are included in the final seven, along with the usual suspects

Starting pitcher: Jeremy Bonderman is listed as No. 4 and Nate Robertson is listed as No .5. Alli points out this could simply be alphabetical order. But like i said, I don't take this stuff too seriously.

Backup catcher: Avila is listed No. 2.

13th position player: Who knows! Don Kelly is listed No. 2 at third base, and Clete Thomas is No. 2 at center field. We do know the ability to play CF is important to Leyland ...

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