Yankees sign Eric Chavez to 1-year, $900K deal

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.

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6 Responses to Yankees sign Eric Chavez to 1-year, $900K deal

  1. Matt says:

    He's a good clubhouse guy and still has a slick glove in the field, but inevitable injury is right. I expect the resilient, mediocre Ramiro Pena will once again find himself on the 25 man roster over the summer.

    • Mike Sommer says:

      Depends. After all, Bill Hall was signed to a minor league deal. I don't know if they can send Hall down to SWB, but if they can, it'd be a good thing (depends on Hall's contract, better offer elsewhere, trade bait at the end of S.T. to some team that had an injury, etc.) The versatile (2b/ss/3b, all 3 OF positions) Hall can utilize his versatility there until the inevitable injury to someone (not just necessarily Chavez) happens. If they can send Hall down, you'd have to think he'd be higher up on the pecking order than Pena.

      • Matt_DC says:

        Hi Mike, it was a tongue in cheek comment. You're right, of course. If Hall doesn't do SWB it will be Ramiro (or maybe Laird?) if anyone goes down.

        • Mike Sommer says:

          Didn't realize it was tongue-in-cheek, sorry. As for Branyan, at age 36, even though on a minor-league deal, I think they'd just release him if he doesn't stick. Hall, however, I'd want to keep. That versatility could come in handy. He was lousy last year, but his versatility helps (I like the injury-proofness he can provide). After all, six positions? I'm not sold on Laird yet. His AAA season last year was ok, but not where I want him to be. .260-16-69. What really has me concerned is the BB/K ratio of 17 to 84. I'd like the average to come up a bit, and better plate patience. In 154 AAA games (2010-2011), he is at .257-18-81, 21 walks, 111 K, so I'm a bit worried how that would translate into the bigs. While mostly 3B, Laird has played 1B as well, but only 11 OF games in the minors. A little further seasoning, esp. in OF and with plate patience, may be needed for Laird.

      • Joe says:

        They won't be able to send Hall down if he fails to make the club out of spring. I think it would be better if they keep Branyan for some left handed pop off the bench. They don't have much roster room so if they decide to keep 11 pitchers then they will have 5 bench spots….chavez, jones, nunez, cervelli, and branyan. If they go with 12 pitchers then both Hall and Branyan have no shot.

        • Mike Sommer says:

          It's a minor league contract, and Hall can opt out of the contract on April 4 if he is not on the Yankees’ major-league roster.