Tigers sign Xavier Avery to minor-league deal
The Tigers added depth to their outfield ranks and footspeed to their camp this week by signing former Orioles and Mariners farmhand Xavier Avery to a minor-league contract.
Avery first proclaimed the news on his Twitter account Thursday.
⚾️Yaaaa Buddy…🐅Detroit here I come…🐅happy to be with the Tigers now😜
— XMAN (@XavierAvery) November 20, 2014
Chris Cotillo of SB Nation later reported the agreement Friday. An industry source with knowledge of the deal confirmed the agreement, which includes a non-roster invite to Spring Training with the Major League club. The Tigers, who usually announce minor-league signings in batches, have not confirmed.
Avery, who will turn 25 on New Year’s Day, was a second-round pick by the Orioles in 2008, bypassing a football scholarship to the University of Georgia. He appeared in 32 games for Baltimore in 2012, batting .223 (21-for-94) with six doubles, a triple and a home run and six RBIs. He stole six bases in nine attempts.
Since then, he has spent most of his time in Triple-A, including the last season-plus at Tacoma in the Mariners system after the O’s traded him to Seattle for Mike Morse on Aug. 30, 2013. Avery batted .275 (110-for-400) at Tacoma this year with 21 homers, two triples, 10 homers, 38 RBIs and 31 stolen bases in 39 attempts.
Avery has split time between left and center field the last few years. The left-handed hitter seemingly slots into the depth role that Ezequiel Carrera tried to fill this past season. The Tigers designated Carrera for assignment Thursday after a disappointing stretch run in Detroit.
Avery could serve as insurance if Anthony Gose, acquired from Toronto last week, struggles to hit next year. The Tigers have two other potential center fielders on their 40-man roster with prospects Tyler Collins and Daniel Fields, but neither has much (or in Fields’ case, any) Major League experience.