Alexa Avila Deal With Nationals (www.mlb.com)

In need of a backup catcher to share the role with Yan Gomes, the Nationals agreed to a one-year contract with veteran Alex Avila on Thursday, a source told MLB.com. The club has not confirmed the deal, which is pending a physical.
The left-handed-hitting Avila, who turns 34 on Friday,

In need of a backup catcher to share the role with Yan Gomes, the Nationals agreed to a one-year contract with veteran Alex Avila on Thursday, a source told MLB.com. The club has not confirmed the deal, which is pending a physical.

The left-handed-hitting Avila, who turns 34 on Friday, will enter his 13th Major League season. Last year, he caught 22 games for the Twins and hit .184 in 49 at-bats. Avila also has played for the Tigers (2009-15, ‘17), White Sox (‘16), Cubs (‘17) and D-backs (2018-19).

Over his career, Avila has a slash line of .235/.348/.394 with a .742 OPS and a 101 OPS+. He earned an All-Star selection, Silver Slugger Award and Most Valuable Player Award votes in ’11.

Avila comes to Washington as no stranger to its pitching staff. He was teammates with starters Max Scherzer in Detroit, Jon Lester in Chicago and Patrick Corbin in Arizona. Avila also joins Lester, second baseman Starlin Castro, corner outfielder Kyle Schwarber and fellow catcher Welington Castillo as members of the Nationals who previously played with manager Dave Martinez while he was a coach for the Cubs.

The Nats had been looking for someone to platoon at backstop with Gomes after Kurt Suzuki signed with the Angels. Gomes, 34, has been tasked with starting in the range of 100 games in his 10th season.

Tres Barrera, Washington’s

per MLB Pipeline, is on the 40-man roster, but he has appeared in just two Major League games and is still developing experience. Avila has caught 7,361 1/3 innings with a .995 fielding percentage — ninth highest among active catchers.

The addition of Avila will bring the Nationals’ 40-man roster to 39. In the past week, they have announced the signings of Lester, backup first baseman Ryan Zimmerman and lefty reliever Brad Hand.

Jessica Camerato covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @jessicacamerato, Facebook and Instagram.



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