Joe Girardi was a little premature, but the Yankees did eventually sign backup infielder Eric Chavez to a one-year major league deal worth worth $900K today, according to Jon Heyman and Ken Rosenthal.
Chavez is back to play the same role he served as last season, backup third baseman to Alex Rodriguez who might also see some time at first base and DH.
Chavez is certainly a big risk. The former MVP candidate has not played in more than 90 games since 2006 and played just 58 last year after he missed about half the season with a foot injury.
Not only did he barely play, but once he returned from the injury he lost most of his effectiveness. He had a .410 OBP and a .834 OPS in his first 17 games, but had a .294 OBP and a .633 OPS in his final 41 games. The Yankees are signing him in hopes that he can finally stay healthy and put up the numbers he posted in April last season over the long haul.
The Yankees do have Bill Hall, whom they signed to a minor league deal, but this pretty much takes his roster spot away. He isn’t impressive either, but hopefully he’ll spend some time in the minor leagues to start the season while he waits for the almost inevitable injury Chavez will suffer.
The Yankees 40-man roster is currently filled, but they can easily make room for Chavez now that spring training has started by placing Pedro Feliciano on the 60-day DL.