Tigers catcher Alex Avila hit .227 with 11 home runs and 47 RBIs in 2013. (Robin Buckson / Detroit News)
Detroit ó In what might be the last order of business for the Tigers this offseason, catcher Alex Avila and the team have avoided arbitration in agreeing to a one-year contract for 2014.
With the deal, Tigers president and general manager Dave Dombrowski kept his streak alive ó ever since joining the team in November 2001 have, the Tigers havenít once gone to a hearing with an arbitration-eligible player.
Avila, whose father Al is the teamís assistant GM, earlier this week told The News a deal was imminent. The deadline was Friday for a deal to get finalized before a hearing would have to be scheduled.
ďIím happy we were able to get one (a deal) done,Ē Avila told The News.
When figures were exchanged earlier this month, Avila was seeking $5.35 million, while the Tigers were offering $3.75 million. Multiple reports say they settled at $4.15 million, plus a $200,000 team buyout on a 2015 option. That option is a vesting club option, and according to the New York Postís Joel Sherman, itíll be triggered if Avila makes the 2014 All-Star team, finishes top 15 in the MVP voting or wins a Silver Slugger. He did all those things in 2011, his best year.
Sherman reported the 2015 option is worth at least $5.4 million.
Avila, who made $2.95 million in 2013, is eligible for free-agency after the 2015 season.
Avila, 27, has been the Tigers starting catcher the past four seasons, with mixed results. In 2011, he hit .295 with 19 homers and 82 RBIs and started for the American League in the All-Star Game.
The past two years have been more of a struggle, as heís batted .235 with 20 homers and 95 RBIs in 218 games.
In 2013, his on-base percentage dipped down to .317, but he did finish strong, batting .290 with a .368 on-base percentage over the final two months of the season.
Avila has battled a variety of leg injuries since late in the 2011 season, a year in which then-manager Jim Leyland admittedly overused him. Despite the Tigers running away with the AL Central ó they won it by 15 games ó Avila still caught 132 games, and hasnít been quite the same since.
He also takes an absolute beating behind the plate ó as seemingly a magnet for violent foul tips. He suffered concussion symptoms in 2013. New manager Brad Ausmus, a longtime catcher, is aware of the pummeling Avila takes, and plans to get to the bottom of just why Avila seems to take more foul tips off the mask than many of his peers.