(CBS) The man on the mound who was part of the sequence of events that led to the Cubs needing to shop for a veteran catcher at the trade deadline has given a glowing review of the new addition.
Right-hander Jake Arrieta had high praise for new Cubs catcher Alex Avila on Tuesday afternoon in an interview on the Bernstein and Goff Show. His thoughts and the acquisition of Avila came just more than a month after the Cubs designated catcher Miguel Montero for assignment in late June after he publicly criticized Arrieta’s inability to hold baserunners on. Shortly after parting ways with Montero, the Cubs intensified their search for a backup catcher for second-year pro Willson Contreras.
They found one in a trade with the Tigers that brought them the 30-year-old Avila, who’s hitting .271 with 11 homers, 32 RBIs and a .864 OPS in 76 games through Sunday. Avila has also thrown out 11 of 33 would-be base-stealers, a 33 percent caught stealing rate that’s better than the league average of 27 percent.
“Just a very experienced player who’s got a tremendous knowledge of the game,” Arrieta said of Avila. “Obviously as a catcher, probably more knowledge than most. The field general is the guy who has to understand the entire staff, the bullpen, basically taking control of the game from behind the plate — it’s something that he’s done and that he’s comfortable with. He’s going to be a great asset to our team.”
Arrieta was pleased to see the work the Cubs’ front office did in recent weeks, which also included the addition of left-hander Jose Quintana in a trade with the White Sox and left-handed reliever Justin Wilson in the same deal that brought Avila to Chicago.
“The moves we’ve made have really strengthened us,” Arrieta said.