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Questioning Chavez

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Before I finish up the NRI position players and move on to the starting pitchers, a quick comment about Eric Chavez: Joel Sherman tweeted this morning that Yankees ownership doesn’t want to pony up money "to get DH and/or Chavez" unless A.J. Burnett is moved. I don’t mind the idea of getting a DH, and if you’ve read previous entries, you know that I am all for the Yankees adding a reserve third baseman who can produce, but I’m unclear as to why Chavez is the guy to go after. This is a guy who hit .263/.320/.356 last year. If you like OPS+, that’s a 79, or 21 percent below league average. If you like True Average, it’s .241. It’s not anything you should be looking for in a corner player.

I know this is nothing new, but Chavez’s many (many) injuries turned a great player into a non-entity. He’s 34 now, so it’s possible he would have arrived at this point by now anyway. The Gold Glove third baseman with power is gone, almost certainly forever. He’s also still fragile; he spent 82 days on the disabled list last year. It doesn’t make much sense to hire a caddy for A-Rod who is going to need a caddy of his own. That way lies Brandon Laird, or someone even more obscure. That way lies Ramiro Pena making starts at third base.

Last year, even with the missing time, Chavez got 175 plate appearances. The Yankees got two home runs out of that. I’m sure he’s a great guy to be around, but he hasn’t had even league-average production since 2007. His last two seasons total out to .251/.302/.347 with three home runs. If this is the level of substitute you aim for, you deserve what you get if you actually have to use it.