Mike Aviles Can Do It All
Ryan Hohman | On 28, Mar 2015
Utility man Mike Aviles played six different positions for the Indians last year:
- 26 games at third base
- 33 games at second base
- 27 games in left field
- 15 games at shortstop
- 3 games in center field
- 3 games in right field
Aviles also pinch hit 12 times and pinch ran twice.
This versatility is one reason why the Tribe exercised their 2015 club option on Aviles, who will earn $3.5 million this season. The team could have bought out his contract for $250,000, but decided he’s worth every penny.
It’s hard to argue with the Tribe’s decision to keep Aviles around for another year. He’s a strong leader in the clubhouse and can step into just about any role at a moment’s notice, giving Terry Francona extra flexibility with his bullpen late in games. The Tribe’s bullpen has been a big strength for the team since Aviles joined the team during the 2013 offseason.
One of GM Chris Antonetti’s first moves after hiring Francona was a trade with Toronto that brought Aviles, Yan Gomes to Cleveland for Esmil Rogers. Aviles was with Toronto for less than one month after being acquired in a trade with Boston. It’s safe to say that trade worked out well for the Indians.
In 374 plate appearances last year, the 34-year-old Aviles hit .247 with five home runs and 39 RBI. He was also a threat on the bases, stealing 14 bases in 19 attempts.
So far this spring Aviles is hitting .333 with a couple of RBIs. He’s missed a few games with elbow soreness but is expected to be ready for opening day.
With it looking like Nick Swisher needs more time to get his surgically repaired knees ready for play, Aviles should get some extra time at the DH spot and provide depth behind infielders Jason Kipnis, Lonnie Chisenhall and Jose Ramirez.
The Bronx-born Aviles is entering his seventh big league season. He was drafted by the Royals in the seventh round of the 2003 amateur draft.
Photo: Chuck Crow/Cleveland Plain Dealer