Nationals add backup catcher Avila on $1.5M, 1-year deal

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WASHINGTON — Alex Avila finalized a $1.5 million, one-year contract Wednesday with the Washington Nationals, who are expected to use him as the primary backup to starting catcher Yan Gomes.

Avila, who turned 34 last week, was a free agent after playing in 2020 for the Minnesota Twins, batting .184 in 49 at-bats during the coronavirus-shortened season.

He has played 12 years in the majors for five clubs and has a .235 career batting average with a .348 on-base percentage, 104 homers and 388 RBIs.

Avila has thrown out 14 of 32 runners trying to steal over the past two seasons.

His father, Al, is general manager of the Detroit Tigers.

Alex Avila's addition is the latest in a flurry of moves by Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo after the team tied for last place in the NL East. Washington has brought in lefty starter Jon Lester, lefty reliever Brad Hand, first baseman Josh Bell and left fielder Kyle Schwarber, and re-signed first baseman Ryan Zimmerman after he sat out 2020.


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