Detroit Brings Back Catcher Avila With $2M, 1-Year Deal

DETROIT (AP) — Alex Avila got a present of sorts, indirectly from his father, and will host a celebration this weekend with his family minus any potential baseball-related drama.

The Detroit Tigers brought back Avila to play behind starting catcher James McCann, giving him a $2 million, one-year contract.

Avila’s father, Al Avila, is Detroit’s general manager.

“I don’t think he was even part of negotiations,” the younger Avila told The Associated Press on Friday night.

Alex Avila spent this year with the Chicago White Sox, then became a free agent for the second straight offseason. Avila said the deal came together between his agent, Matt Laird, and assistant general manager John Westhoff.

“Westhoff contacted my agent and expressed an interest and the last few days, I haven’t really slept much because I’m so excited,” he said. “I’m sure my dad was involved at some point. Now that it’s done, I talked to him and we’ll be together at my house in Florida this weekend. And, we’ll have something other than Christmas to celebrate.”

PIRATES

PITTSBURGH (AP) — The Pittsburgh Pirates claimed reliever Nefi Ogando off waivers from the Miami Marlins on Friday to give their bullpen another right-handed arm heading into spring training.

The 27-year-old Ogando posted a 2.30 ERA in 14 appearances for the Marlins this year. Ogando previously made four appearances as a September call-up for Philadelphia in 2015. The signing comes two days after Pittsburgh brought in former Arizona reliever Daniel Hudson to serve as the set-up man for closer Tony Watson.

To make room for Ogando on the 40-man roster, the Pirates designated infielder Jason Rogers for assignment. Rogers struggled to find a role with the Pirates this year, hitting .080 in 23 games.

DODGERS

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Third baseman Justin Turner and the Los Angeles Dodgers have finalized their $64 million, four-year contract.

Turner gets a $4 million signing bonus, payable Dec. 31, under the agreement completed Friday, and salaries of $12 million next year, $11 million in 2018, $18 million in 2019 and $19 million in 2020.

He would get a $1 million assignment bonus each time he is traded.

Los Angeles also has a pending $80 million, five-year agreement with closer Kenley Jansen. The deals raise the Dodgers’ projected luxury tax payroll to $230 million next year, in line for a tax of about $19 million.

MARLINS

MIAMI (AP) — The Marlins sealed a deal Friday with right-hander Brad Ziegler, their latest move in an attempt to emulate recent playoff teams by building a strong bullpen.

Ziegler reached an agreement last week on the $16 million, two-year contract, which became final after he passed a physical. Miami also gave right-hander Junichi Tazawa a $12 million, two-year contract.

Incumbent closer A.J. Ramos will remain in that job, with Ziegler assuming a setup role, president of baseball operations Michael Hill said.

“We’ve been able to add two good pieces to an already strong bullpen,” Hill said.

Miami is hoping a deep relief corps will give manager Don Mattingly lots of options to help compensate for a rotation weakened by the loss of ace Jose Fernandez, killed in a boating accident in September.

“We’ve seen over the past few years, with Kansas City and the playoffs this year, that if you do have a dominant bullpen, the manager and his staff feel comfortable going to the bullpen at any point to shorten the game,” Hill said. “You saw in the playoffs it was as early as the fourth or fifth inning. We wanted to give Donnie as many weapons as possible to potentially shorten the game.”

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