Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
His Performance Has Steadily Declined
Aviles will turn 35 this March, and his age has clearly shown over the past few years. At his current level of production, he has been worse than replacement level for the past two seasons. Should he continue aging at this current pace, it would be hard to justify keeping him on the major league roster. Below is a table showing sore core statistics for the right-hander.
*Estimated results given current aging pattern
** fWAR per 400 plate appearances
The above projections may seem a little extreme, and they are simple linear regressions, but the point they make is clear. Mike Aviles is aging and becoming less and less valuable. For comparison, 33-year-old Nick Swisher posted a wRC+ of 73 in 2014, and he amassed -1.7 fWAR over 400 plate appearances. While that offensive level is better than Aviles’ 2014 output, the overall worth would be comparable.
If 2014 Nick Swisher enraged Indians fans, what kind of reaction would a Mike Aviles who makes one-fifth as much get?
Clearly, there is a big difference between paying $15 million a year and $3.5 million a year. I’m not trying to argue that resigning Aviles for next year will result in a Nick-Swisher-sized problem. In fact, a likely horrid 2016 from Mike Aviles can be completely avoided, and there are others who could play utility man for the 2016 Cleveland Indians.
Who could fill his role for the Indians?
Next: Finding a Replacement