For weeks, as we’ve heard — and compiled — dozens of different trade rumors, the one constant has been the Chicago Cubs interest in Alex Avila as a backup catcher option. After the team designated Miguel Montero for assignment, following a bad-attitude outburst in the clubhouse, it seemed likely the Cubs would be on the hunt for a new secondary catcher.
Avila made perfect sense. His offensive output this season has been excellent, especially considering his last few seasons. As second-half rentals go, Avila would be an ideal fit for the Cubs. His clubhouse attitude is second to none and he has shown great pop in his bat, currently hitting a .276/.398/.481 line, and 11 home runs this season.
However, according to Ken Rosenthal, the Cubs interest may be waning, as they shift focus in search of a “defense-first” catcher rather than an offensively strong back up for Willson Contreras.
If the team most heavily rumored to be interested in Avila is no longer interested, where does that leave Avila? Certainly, the Tigers could hold onto him for the remainder of the season, but it seems like a missed opportunity to not turn a trade based on his positive first half. As Avila is only with the Tigers on a 1-year contract, if they can move him now for a prospect or two they would be foolish not to take advantage of that.
So, if not the Cubs, then where?
There’s not a huge market for catchers at the moment, but one name that has popped up along with the Cubs is the Colorado Rockies. The Rockies started the season strong, but find themselves in the difficult position of sharing a division with the untouchable Los Angeles Dodgers. Additionally they’re currently neck-and-neck with the Arizona Diamondbacks, who netted the last Tigers’ trade move, J.D. Martinez. At the moment the Rockies hold the second NL Wild Card spot, and adding a player like Avila would help their struggling catching platoon.
The Rockies have already proved they’re open to deals if it means they have a better chance to clinch their place in the postseason. They recently acquired reliever Pat Neshek from the Phillies, and now turn their attention to a possible battery-mate for him and the rest of the Rockies pitchers.
Neshek was traded for prospects Jose Gomez, J.D. Hammer, and Alejandro Requena, or as I like to call them: J.D. Hammer and Associates.
A short-term rental like Avila wouldn’t net the Tigers any top-10 prospects, but there are solid options available in the Rockies farm system who could bolster the Tigers minor leagues and help the team going forward.
If the Cubs truly aren’t interested in taking Avila (their loss), the Rockies would be the next most likely place for him to land.