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Diamondbacks sign Alex Avila to 2-year deal

The veteran catcher heads to Arizona, where he’ll likely start for the D-Backs.

MLB: Chicago Cubs at Tampa Bay Rays Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Diamondbacks have agreed to sign free-agent catcher Alex Avila, per FanRag’s Jon Heyman. The deal is for two years and willl guarantee $8.25 million, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.

Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic first reported a deal was close.

Avila, who turned 31 yesterday, will immediately rise to the top of the depth chart for a Diamondbacks’ team that had just two catchers (Jeff Mathis and Chris Herrmann) on its roster. The veteran was also linked to the Nationals and Cubs this winter coming off a strong 2017 season in which he hit .264/.387/.447 with 14 homers in 112 games split between the Tigers and Cubs.

Avila will replace Chris Iannetta, who signed a two-year deal to return Colorado earlier in the winter. While Mathis is excellent defensively, he has always struggled at the plate, meaning Avila will be the club’s best offensive option at catcher.

Avila is a veteran of nine major-league seasons with the Tigers (2009-15, 2017), White Sox (2016) and Cubs (2017) and owns a career .243/.351/.401 line and one All-Star appearance in that span.