When Alex Rodriguez went down the thing that made the most sense for the Yankees to replace him was to platoon Eric Chavez and Jeff Keppinger until he comes back. Keppinger signed earlier today with the White Sox and now the Yankees have lost out on the other half of that platoon too as Chavez has signed a one-year, $3 million deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports and Bob Nightengale of the USA Today.
Things are not shaping up well for the Yankees this offseason. They have already been restricted by their austerity budget, which has caused them to miss out on the more expensive free agents, but they’ve also missed out on a few free agents they should be able to afford too.
This one seems to fall right on Brian Cashman as well. He knew at least a month before we did about the injury to Alex Rodriguez and only began to seriously look for a replacement after they made the announcement. He didn’t even contact Chavez’s agent to find out if he was going to retire or not until this week and now he’s missed his chance.
Other third base possibilities like Marco Scutaro and Yunel Escobar are also off the table so the Yankees are going to have to turn to Kevin Youkilis or possibly Mark Reynolds. There are significant concerns with each of those players though. Youkilis is aging, injury prone, and coming off a year where he posted career lows in batting average, on base percentage, and slugging percentage. Reynolds is terrible defensively, the Mets were considering signing him and moving him to the outfield, and he strikes out a ton.
If the Yankees are going to go into the season with somebody other than David Adams, who has barely any experience at third and has never played above Double-A, then they are going to have to get aggressive in talks for players that aren’t very good. It’s a tough position they’ve put themselves in. Too bad Cashman wasted the early part of the offseason negotiating with players he knew were coming back to the Yankees anyway.
Chavez hti .281/.348/.496 in 109 games for the Yankees last season. He was never an option as their everyday third baseman next year though because of his terrible stats against lefties and his inablity to play more than four days in a row. However, he was the perfect platoon player and a good clubhouse guy.