The Tigers have been very busy this week, re-signing Victor Martinez to a four year contract extension and trading for center fielder Anthony Gose. They may not be done, though. Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe tweeted that the Tigers were "listening" on offers for catcher Alex Avila. Cafardo says that his hometown Boston Red Sox and the Atlanta Braves "have some interest in [a left-handed] hitter."
Avila hit .218/.327/.359 with 11 home runs and 47 RBI in 457 plate appearances last season. He was worth 2.1 WAR, the third time he has topped the two-win barrier in his career. He ranked among the best catchers in the American League at throwing out baserunners, catching 34 percent of potential base stealers.
Cafardo's language in this tweet is a bit cryptic, as it could indicate a number of things. The Tigers may only be "listening" on offers for Avila, something they are probably doing with any player that another general manager calls about. Character limits are tricky, though. The Tigers could also be actively shopping Avila. With his $5.4 million team option still in the balance, the Tigers have a number of different options for how they want to use him in 2015.
Cafardo also does not explicitly state that the Red Sox and Braves are interested in Avila, though the tweet implies a certain level of involvement. Both teams could use Avila's left-handed bat and veteran presence behind the plate as they work younger catchers into a starting role.
The big question for the Tigers is what they would do without Avila behind the plate in 2015. James McCann is a nice prospect, but he doesn't project to be a starting catcher for a contending team. Bryan Holaday is a backup catcher. The free agent market consists of Russell Martin and a bunch of also-rans. Even the prospects within the Tigers' system -- Grayson Greiner and Shane Zeile, in particular -- are a number of years away from the majors. Trading Avila doesn't make much sense on the surface, but a trade would likely be just one of several moves to help position the Tigers for another run at the AL Central in 2015.