Thursday, November 17, 2011
Eric Chavez was well liked by both his teammates and the fans, myself included, last season. He was a great influence on younger players like Eduardo Nunez, played stellar defense as a backup at the corners, and provided another option against right-handers as the DH. He was also excellent with runners in scoring position, putting up a .415/.468/.537 split in 47 plate appearances. But just as those numbers don't lie, neither do Chavez's overall numbers. And the numbers were not good for the five-time Gold Glove winner.
A .676 OPS was well below Chavez's lifetime average, which dipped to .817 as a result of the 2011 season. Chavez had his usual rash of injuries as well and appeared in just 58 games. The number of games played can, of course, be looked at in another way. The Yankees wouldn't expect Chavez to play too much, except to occassionally spell Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez.
But with Rodriguez's own mounting injuries, the Yankees need a healthier player with more pop to fill in at third base. Nunez did a pretty good offensively (.698) in his first full season in the Majors, but is still maturing as a defender. Chavez hit just two home runs in 175 plate appearances and though he was decent 3-11 (.273) as a pinch-hitter, all his hits were singles. (His numbers were even worse when he entered the game as a sub - .513 OPS).
So while Chavez is a great guy to have around and can be depended on defensively, the Yankees need to find themselves a younger, more durable, and more offensively consistently model for the 2012 season.