Alex Avila and Cameron Maybin, newly retired former Detroit Tigers, join MLB Network

Detroit Free Press

Two newly retired former Detroit Tigers will be helming desk chairs at MLB Network this season.

Alex Avila and Cameron Maybin have joined the company as on-air analysts, and will appear across numerous studio shows, the network announced Tuesday.

Avila was a guest analyst on MLB Network during the 2021 postseason; Maybin appeared on an “MLB Tonight: A Conversation” program in January.

Avila, son of Tigers general manager Al Avila, knew last season would be the finale of his 13-year career. He started at catcher in his final game Oct. 3 at Nationals Park, and hit a two-run double in the fifth inning with his father and mother, Yamile, in attendance. Alex Avila was removed from the game in the ninth, took a curtain call and received a standing ovation from the crowd.

The 35-year-old appeared in 34 postseason games for the Tigers, the most for a catcher in franchise history.

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Avila batted .233 with 105 home runs and a 14.5% walk rate in 1,052 games for the Tigers (2009-15, 2017), White Sox (2016), Cubs (2017), Diamondbacks (2018-19), Twins (2020) and Nationals (2021).

“That organization means everything to me,” Avila said recently. “The Tigers will always be my team, having gone through all those experiences, from getting drafted to making my debut to catching some of the best teams that we had over our run. I made tremendous friendships. I played for a future Hall of Fame manager (Jim Leyland) that I’d run through a wall for. To me, Detroit means everything. I loved my time there.”

Read more: Alex Avila, now retired, says Tigers ‘will always be my team’

Maybin, who announced his retirement in January, had three stints with the Tigers during a 15-year career, and earned a World Series ring with the 2017 Astros.

“I was a kid who dreamed of playing on a big-league field,” he said in January. “Detroit allowed me to fulfill my childhood dream. I’m forever a Tiger.”

The Tigers drafted him with the No. 10 overall pick in the 2005 draft from T.C. Roberson High School in Asheville, North Carolina. He signed for a $2.65 million bonus and immediately ranked as one of the team’s top prospects.

He was a key part of the Tigers’ blockbuster trade Dec. 4, 2007 for Miguel Cabrera with the Florida Marlins.

“I remember playing my Xbox,” Maybin said in January. “It was around the first time Xbox Live was going. I’m playing Madden on my Xbox, and I swear to God, I saw the line at the bottom: Cameron Maybin and five others traded to Marlins. I’m like, this can’t be real. But this is new, like video games are online now. Everything is online. I said, ‘Holy (expletive), this is crazy.’ I couldn’t believe it.

“I felt like it was a compliment, to be honest with you. They were getting a lot of really good young players for two really great players at the time. Miguel, to me, is arguably the best right-handed hitter of all time and one of my favorite teammates. Every trade until really late in my career, I always took it as a compliment. There was always a void I needed to fill.”

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Maybin, 34, finished his career with a .254 batting average, 72 home runs, 354 RBIs and 187 stolen bases. He turned down minor-league offers and an opportunity to play in the Korea Baseball Organization in the offseason.

He played 1,162 games for 11 teams, including stints with the Tigers in 2007, 2016 and 2020, the Marlins, Padres, Braves, Angels, Astros, Mariners, Yankees, Cubs and Mets.

Baseball’s new 2022 Opening Day is April 7.

The Tigers open the season April 8 at Comerica Park vs. the White Sox.

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Tigers reveal spring training broadcast schedule

The Tigers on Tuesday announced their radio and television broadcast schedule for spring training. They will play 19 games in the Grapefruit League, and for the first time will have two games livestreamed on March 23 vs. Pittsburgh and March 26 vs. Philadelphia. Dan Dickerson and Matt Shepard will call the Pirates game; Dickerson and Jim Price will announce the Phillies game.

Bally Sports Detroit will televise five matchups, beginning with Friday’s opener vs. the Phillies. Shepard will be joined by the usual cavalry of analysts Dan Petry, Craig Monroe, Jack Morris and Kirk Gibson.

Longtime duo Dickerson and Jim Price will call all 11 radio games.

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Tigers’ Grapefruit League schedule (all games in Florida):

Friday: Philadelphia in Lakeland, 1:05 p.m., 1270 AM, BSD

Saturday: Pittsburgh in Bradenton, 1:05 p.m.

Sunday: New York Yankees in Tampa, 1:05 p.m., 97.1 FM

Monday: Toronto in Lakeland, 1:05 p.m., 1270 AM, BSD

March 22: Philadelphia in Clearwater, 1:05 p.m.

March 23: Pittsburgh in Lakeland, 1:05 p.m.,

March 24: Yankees in Lakeland, 1:05 p.m., 1270 AM, BSD

March 25: Toronto in Dunedin, 1:07 p.m., 1270 AM

March 26: Philadelphia in Lakeland, 1:05 p.m., 1270 AM,

March 27: Baltimore in Sarasota, 1:05 p.m., 97.1 FM

March 28: Yankees in Lakeland, 1:05 p.m., 1270 AM, BSD

March 30: Philadelphia in Clearwater, 1:05 p.m.

March 31: Toronto in Dunedin, 1:07 p.m.

April 1: Yankees in Lakeland, 1:05 p.m., 1270 AM

April 2: Baltimore in Lakeland, 1:05 p.m., 97.1 FM or 1270 AM

April 3: Philadelphia in Clearwater, 1:05 p.m.

April 4: Toronto in Lakeland, 1:05 p.m., 1270 AM, BSD

April 5: Yankees in Tampa, 1:05 p.m.

April 6: Baltimore in Lakeland, 1:05 p.m.

Free Press sports writer Evan Petzold contributed to this report.

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