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Charged For The Playoffs: Eric Chavez

Chavez is tired of your slump, Grandy.
Chavez is tired of your slump, Grandy.

When Brian Cashman made the move to bring Eric Chavez back to the Bronx for another season, it was reasonable to be a bit skeptical about what the former Gold Glover would be able to produce. He spent a good chunk of the 2011 season on the DL and is notoriously fragile. To this point, though, Cashman's decision has really paid off. Aside from a concussion earlier in the year, Chavez has stayed off the DL and has managed to provide the Yankees with a vital spark off the bench, especially as of late.

In his last ten games, Chavez has been tearing the cover off the ball at a .500/.528/.912 clip with four home runs. He absolutely carried the team in the most recent series against the Detroit Tigers and hasn't really slowed down any in the recently completed series against Texas. His hot streak has elevated his season numbers to .303/.362/.547 with 13 home runs, joining eight other Yankees with double digit dingers.

Chavez's 139 wRC+ is second only to Robinson Cano on the team of any player who has played more than ten games in pinstripes this season. Having that kind of offense on the bench is a luxury most other teams can only dream of, but it has become extra important to the Yankees, with Alex Rodriguez's broken hand causing him to miss 4-6 weeks in the middle of the division race. Being able to plug Chavez and his hot bat in as the main fill-in at third base has allowed the Yankees to keep pace in the AL East until one of their more dangerous hitters returns. If Chavez is still hitting the way he is currently, there should be no reason that he shouldn't be slotted in as the left-handed DH for as much of the time as his health will allow.

With the Yankees currently in a favorable spot to make the postseason, having a bench player with the ability of Eric Chavez may prove to be crucial when A-Rod or Mark Teixeira need half a day or a full day off as the season winds down. Most teams would have to forfeit a good chunk of offense to sit one of their superstars, but the presence of Chavez means they hardly have to miss a beat. Chalk it up to another one of Brian Cashman's savvy moves and great hitting by a veteran who knows he isn't able to play in an everyday role. He's certainly made the most of his playing time this season, and the Yankees are very fortunate to have him.