Catcher Alex Avila took quite a beating behind the plate for the Detroit Tigers during the 2011 season, especially in the final months of the season. After Victor Martinez suffered an injury that prevented him from catching, Avila was forced to catch on almost a daily basis. At one point he caught 18 games in a row until Omir Santos was called up for a day to give him a break.
The Tigers have already decided that Avila will have a permanent backup in 2012 since Victor Martinez will permanently be a designated hitter. They don't want a situation like last season to arise where Avila is forced into the lineup every game, so they have been on the lookout for a solid free agent catcher that can step in for Avila when needed next season.
According Ken Rosenthal and Jon Morosi, the Tigers' search for a catcher could be coming to a close.
Sources tell me and
@jonmorosi that #Tigers are close to signing a catcher. Shoppach among their targets. #Rays #MLB
Jason Beck reports that if the Tigers are in fact close to signing a backup catcher, Kelly Shoppach is not the man they are after. It's unclear who the main target is, but if a deal is about to happen, we should find out shortly.