Although Tigers general manager Al Avila admitted the team was all but finished putting together its roster, there was one last item on his to-do list: add a utility role player to the mix. Mike Aviles, who played every position except first base and catcher with the Indians last season, apparently fit the bill. The team announced Friday night it had signed Aviles to a one-year deal and designated pitcher Kyle Lobstein for assignment.
ESPN's Buster Olney first reported late Friday the team had reached an agreement with Aviles, but details are not yet known.
The 34-year-old Aviles (who turns 35 in March) bats right-handed and has posted a .720 OPS for his career against left-handed pitching. His overall stats .265/.297/.385 for his career, and worse during his past three seasons in Cleveland, where he posted a .623 OPS.
Defensively he spent most of the past year at left field (34 games), third base (28) and shortstop (23). With such a small number of games, it's hard to get a good sense for his ability there, but "passable" would seem to be the theme. Let's Go Tribe noted a year ago, however, that while he gets by at shortstop he looked less comfortable at other infield positions and "out of his depth" in the outfield.
The Tigers' 40-man roster stands at 40 currently, which means to make room for Aviles the Tigers will need to designate a player for assignment.
Off the field, Aviles is regarded highly as a teammate. He participated in one of the more heartwarming moments of the 2015 season when his daughter, Adrianna, who underwent cancer treatment at the Cleveland Clinic, threw out the first pitch at an Indians game in August.