Could the A’s Bring Back Eric Chavez?
By Joseph Lopez
Apr 24, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; New York Yankees third baseman Eric Chavez (12) at bat during the game against the Texas Rangers at Rangers Ballpark. Texas won 2-0. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-US PRESSWIRE
The chances of the A’s bringing back veteran infielder Eric Chavez seem very slim, but Billy Beane and the rest of Oakland’s front office have done crazier things.
Chavez, who turns 35 next month, played solid baseball in New York this past season, hitting .281/.348/.496 with 16 HR and 37 RBI. The numbers are not entirely jaw-dropping, but for a guy who has seen a lot of time on the bench due to injuries the numbers are solid.
He went hit-less in the postseason for New York going 0-for-16 with 8 strikeouts, but still Chavy provided the Yankees with much needed depth over the course of the season.
He filled in for Alex Rodriguez and provided the Yankees with some pop for a relatively low cost. Considering the way he performed this past season, though, Chavez is expected to make more than the $900,000 the Yankees gave him last offseason.
The question becomes whether or not Chavez would be out of Oakland’s price range. Then again, would the A’s even want Chavez back in the green-and-gold? Would Chavez welcome the idea of returning to the place where he started his career? Hmm. That’s more than one question, I guess.
The A’s have a few questions regarding the state of their infield, but third base seems to belong to Josh Donaldson in 2013. Beane and the A’s have seemingly put their confidence in Donaldson, who hit .241/.289/.398 with 9 HR and 33 RBI in 75 games for Oakland.
Oakland also has added depth with Scott Sizemore, who is also a fit at third. He’s also a fit at second base if the A’s lose their faith in Jemile Weeks‘ ability to hold down that position.
Should the A’s need extra help, however, signing Chavez to a one-year deal does, in some ways, makes sense. He’s a six-time Gold Glove winner and is still a popular figure among the front office.
He would provide a good source of veteran leadership and from what we all saw from Jonny Gomes, veteran leadership does make a difference in a young clubhouse like Oakland’s.
Along with his defense and leadership skills, Chavez still has some power in his stroke. For the suddenly homer-happy A’s offense, adding a healthy Chavez to the team’s arsenal could make Oakland’s offense even stronger.
Having Chavez come off the bench to pinch-hit, play third or first base occasionally, or even DH isn’t a bad idea if you’re the A’s. His health is always a question, but this past season in New York Chavez was relatively healthy and effective in a reduced role. For the first time since 2008, Chavez produced a positive WAR (Wins Above Replacement) of 1.5 this past year.
In the end it will come down to whether or not either side wants a reunion. The A’s seem to have enough depth to pass on Chavez’s services and after a solid season in New York, Chavez is expected to garner enough interest from other clubs.
It’s not impossible, but I wouldn’t count on it either.