Aug 15, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians left fielder Mike Aviles (4) hits a game winning home run during the eleventh inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Progressive Field. The Indians won 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Avlies and the Value of a Role Player

Mike Aviles Continues to Show Value for Indians

Mike Aviles will never be confused for a franchise cornerstone. He’s not a superstar and never will be. However, that’s not to say Aviles doesn’t have value. As a super utility, do anything that’s asked of me role player for the Indians, he has continually answered the call whenever asked. In last night’s dramatic 2-1 win over the Orioles, he showed why he may be one of the Indians least expendable pieces.

In his time with the Indians, Aviles has played all over the field. Over the past two seasons he has taken the field at shortstop, second base, third base, left field, right field, center field, and DH. That’s a lot to ask of a player, especially one that has spent the bulk of his career playing shortstop. It’s a testament to both Aviles’ athleticism and his willingness to help the team in any way he can. Oh, and he appears to have been one of the primary personalities in the locker room, at the center of every celebration and prank that has unfolded over the last two seasons.

Not only that, Aviles has taken it upon himself to learn how to play as many positions as possible. Not content to label himself as just a short stop or infielder, Aviles has taken to the outfield, embracing it as a new challenge and understanding that the greater good of the team should come before his own personal goals.

In an interview this spring with the Akron Beacon Journal, Aviles said as much:

“At first you do struggle bouncing around,” Aviles said last week. “It’s more because of the difference in positions. The more I play, the more I realize that winning is a lot more important than personal satisfaction. Playing every single day at one position would be great, but I’d rather win and play multiple positions.”

“We’ve got a lot of good players at every position,” Aviles said. “If my role is coming in and giving guys days off, that’s fine. Bottom line is I want to win.

“Could I make a big stink and want to go play somewhere else? That’s everybody. But am I going to be happy? No. I’m going to be happy right here. We have a good brotherhood; we have something to build on. Being part of something special is more important than anything else.”

However, last night Aviles showed his value back on the infield. Two spectacular plays highlighted another solid outing from Corey Kluber. Don’t believe me? Just take a look for yourself.

Aviles

Aviles

Not only that, Aviles came through when it mattered most with the bat. His solo home run in the bottom of the eleventh inning gave the Indians a 2-1 victory and continued their most recent hot streak. It was the second walk-off home run this week and is beginning to make many think, this writer included, that maybe, just maybe there is another magical late season run in the works for the Indians.

Aviles

Aviles

If the Indians do find a way to get themselves into the playoffs for the second straight year, it’s likely that Mike Aviles will play an integral role. With the recent departure of Asdrubal Cabrera, the recent struggles of Lonnie Chisenhall, and the team’s continued battle with injuries, he figures to get a lot of playing time over the next 40 games, and hopefully more.

It’s also worth noting that because of his flexibility and to play all over the field, Aviles will more than likely be with the Indians again in 2015. With a team option on the books for #3.5 million, the same as his 2014 salary, there is no reason to think that the Indians won’t pick it up. Not only that, but Aviles is one of Terry Francona‘s guys, having spent time with him in Boston and now in Cleveland. If Tito wants him on the roster, and it’s hard to see why he wouldn’t, Aviles will be an Indians again.

In the meantime, Aviles will continue to take the field whenever and wherever he is asked without a single complaint. As a player that understands the big picture and is willing to sacrifice his own accolades for the good of the team, Aviles may be one of the most valuable and grateful Indians on the roster.

Aug 15, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians left fielder Mike Aviles (4) celebrates with the rest of the Cleveland Indians after hitting a game wining home run during the eleventh inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Progressive Field. The Indians won 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Aug 15, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians left fielder Mike Aviles (4) celebrates with the rest of the Cleveland Indians after hitting a game wining home run during the eleventh inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Progressive Field. The Indians won 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Tags: Cleveland Indians Corey Kluber Mike Aviles

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