Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that the Pittsburgh Pirates are one of seven teams who have checked in on free agent third baseman Eric Chavez. He lists the Pirates, Rangers, Rays, Braves, Diamondbacks, Nationals, and Yankees as teams who have “checked in with interest”.
You would have to think that the Pirates would be looking at Chavez as a bench player if they’re serious about him. He wouldn’t be bad in that role, which he showed last year with an .810 OPS and a .197 ISO. He has played first base and is good against right-handers, but he’s 36 years old and shouldn’t be an option for the first base platoon. As always in these situations, it’s hard to know what “interest” means.
Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.
Is this for a back up if the Pirates are planning on trading Josh Harrison?
No, more of a bench bat, backup corner infielder. He wouldn’t be a 2B or SS (in a pinch) option like JayHay. Not “really” a platoon option, but possibly a temporary platoon option (assuming a guy like Lambo is in AAA getting reps at 1B).
No . injury prone ……he’s brittle
I like getting Chavez cheap more than paying out for money (Loney) or prospects. Start Lambo in AAA playing 1B everyday as plan B. Use the money / prospects you save on a starting pitcher. Looks like a creative high risk / high reward solution that small market teams need to try.
I really disagree with the notion that Chavez is too old to platoon. In fact that may be the perfect situation for him. His career OPS vs. righties is .867. Last year, in over 200 ABs, he swatted .827 in nearly 200 ABs against the righty. That’s versus .793 career and .797 in ’13 for Loney. If Chavez is the better hitter versus righty and Gabby is the better versus lefty… why do we want the Loney? That said Loney is a three year solution and Chaves should be a year to year deal but I would prefer EricC at one year/$3M platooning w Gabby over Loney at 3/$24M. Save the money for midseason deals when we know better our holes. Same with starting pitching but thats another thread.
That sounds like the best situation I’ve heard mentioned hands down!
If the Pirates had a viable first-base option on the horizon, I would agree with you 100% as to Chavez compared to Loney, and I like Loney.
I’d rather have Youkilis. And that pains me to say.
I said weeks ago when the Berkman rumor started flying around that Chavez was the better fit. He is a real good glove at either corner and has excellent plate discipline. Only issue is he can’t play every day. If they had to go with Lambo at 1B, Chavez would be a good guy to get in a supporting role. He could play a couple games a week at 1B and be a backup to Pedro at 3rd. If Lambo completely flops they’d still have a legitimate fall back plan.
Considering the number of games where the Pirates were down to absolutely no one on the bench who could hit worth a damn, Chavez might not be a bad fit, if the price is right. You’d have to think he’d be more valuable to an AL club that could DH him on occasion.
Plus 1 wk.
Assuming they do take a veteran “clubhouse” bench guy, Chavez is WAY better than Inge was… and actually a bit younger too.
Sounds like the Clint Hurdle veteran special. No thanks.
A solid vet utility player is a good get for the Pirates, every winning team has one.
A backup 3B who can’t be platooned with Alvarez? Seems pretty useless.
I imagine if the Pirates really are interested, they think he can at least play some 1B, right? Maybe he’d just be there in case of a Pedro injury.