Washington Nationals: Alex Avlia ready for next chapter in baseball future

May 26, 2021; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Washington Nationals catcher Alex Avila (6) swing through during an at bat Cincinnati Reds at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
May 26, 2021; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Washington Nationals catcher Alex Avila (6) swing through during an at bat Cincinnati Reds at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports /
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Eventually, every player hangs up their cleats for one last time. There comes a time when they simply do not have it anymore, when Father Time calls upon them and says that it is time to go. That is the reality that Washington Nationals catcher Alex Avila is facing as the 2021 season winds down.

It is also a reality that Avila is ready to embrace. He is retiring at the end of the season, ready to embrace the next chapter in his baseball journey.

Washington Nationals catcher Alex Avila ready for next chapter in baseball journey

It was entirely possible that Avila would have landed another major league opportunity for 2022. Although he had just one homer and an 89 OPS+ in his 99 plate appearances heading into Sunday, he has still been a solid defensive backstop. Avila has thrown out 40% of would-be basestealers this year while saving four runs behind the plate. He has continually drawn rave reviews for his ability to frame pitches and manage a pitching staff. For a team such as the Nationals, who have a young catcher in Keibert Ruiz, a player such as Avila would be welcome.

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An All Star and a Silver Slugger in 2011, Avila was never able to reach those heights with the bat again. However, he has posted a solid enough .233/.348/.393 batting line in his career, hitting 105 homers and 153 doubles. Defensively, he has thrown out 30.1% of would-be basestealers while saving 16 runs behind the plate.

It would not be a surprise if Avila had several paths before him. His father is the current Tigers general manager, infamously trading his son to the Cubs in 2017. His grandfather was a longtime scout for the Dodgers who had helped begin the pipeline of talent from the Dominican Republic to the majors.

Likewise, given his defensive acumen, it would not be a surprise to see Avila as a coach. He could, in theory, be a roving minor league instructor, working with catchers at different levels to hone their craft. That may be the type of role that he could be a natural fit in.

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No matter where that path leads, Alex Avila is ready for the next chapter in his life. The Washington Nationals catcher is retiring as a player after this year.