October 31, 2014

A Dodgers Deal for Eric Chavez Not Dead Yet

If you believe the comments from a rival NL Scout, the Dodgers were “raving” about free agent third baseman Eric Chavez’s recent workout, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle and Mark J. Miller of the Yahoo! Sports blog “Scoop Du Jour.”

As we know from Ken Gurnick, the 33-year-old often injured power hitter worked out at Camelback Ranch this past Thursday for assistant general managers De Jon Watson and Logan White and batting coach Jeff Pentland.  Remember when Chavez was a young hitter, full of potential?  The kid seemed like a lock for 100 RBIs and 25+ home runs. 

I’ve always felt that, if healthy by the start of Spring Training, Chavez would be a great value-based signing for Colletti and the Dodgers.  Plus Chavez loves playing in California (in Ned-speak: “a guy who wants to be here.”)  Here’s part of what I wrote back on November 17, 2010 ( “Eric Chavez and the Dodgers are a Good Fit” ):

Ned’s going to be looking at inexpensive sources of power, and having Chavez platoon with Casey Blake at third base seems completely realistic.  Plus the Dodgers like signing players that are rebounding from injuries that they might be able to catch on the uptick.  The Dodgers’ signing of Orlando Hudson is probably the best comparison to how a possible Chavez deal could look (obviously the dollars would be different), but the Dodgers did work Hudson out in secret on two consecutive days to test out his surgically repaired wrist before signing him.  Granted, Chavez could be considered a bigger gamble than Hudson was at that time, but I could easily see Chavez working out for Ned & Co. a couple of times and then getting a one-year deal that’s low on base salary, yet full of incentives if everything checks out physically.  I like it.

And here’s what Gurnick reported on Thursday:

If the Dodgers are impressed, they would be looking at Chavez as a backup or platoon-mate with Casey Blake at third base and a power left-handed bat off the bench. They would likely offer him an incentive-filled Minor League contract, as their 40-man roster if full.

The deal isn’t done yet, but this is totally the type of signing that has Ned Colletti written all over it.  If there was a way to bet on free agent signings, I would put money down on Chavez being in Dodger Blue by this time next month.

Photo Credit: Jeff Gross/Getty Images, Ronald Martinez/Getty Images North America

Eric Chavez and the Dodgers Are a Good Fit

Ahh…the baseball offseason.  One of my favorite times of year.  With all of the rumors and possibilities swirling, it’s like getting a sneak peak at what might happen for baseball fans on Christmas or before Spring Training.

Dodger fans should already feel pretty good about this offseason with the signings of free agent starting pitchers Ted Lilly and Hiroki Kuroda, but there are several additional names that the Dodgers are reportedly linked to that I want to bring up over the course of the next few weeks.  And as always, please remember that my analysis is based off of current rumors; this is the Hot Stove League, after all.  While some reports are inevitably true (or have grains of truth to them), many are fabricated to serve the needs of the agents, players or teams.  So take everything you read with a grain of salt.  And with that said, here’s my first name that I wanted to throw out there:

Eric Chavez (3B):

Earlier in his career, Eric Chavez was a #10 overall pick by the A’s, a six-time Gold Glove-winning third baseman with power and was considered a lock for 27+ HR and 100+ RBI.  As a result, he signed a six-year, $66 million contract with Oakland.  But those days ended around 2005, which seems like a long, long time ago.  Since then, Chavez has been riddled by injuries, most recently with a few bad discs in his back and neck.  He’s now attempting a comeback at the age of 32 (he’ll be 33 in December) and his agent claims the Dodgers are interested in having him work out for them.  Per the Boston Herald:

“…according to his representative, Scott Leventhal, Chavez is handling ‘pretty strenuous workouts’ five days a week at Athletes Performance in Arizona just fine and ‘from our perspective, is completely healthy.’ Chavez turns 33 next month.”

Now this is actually the kind of rumor that I believe.  Ned’s going to be looking at inexpensive sources of power, and having Chavez platoon with Casey Blake at third base seems completely realistic.  Plus the Dodgers like signing players that are rebounding from injuries that they might be able to catch on the uptick.  The Dodgers’ signing of Orlando Hudson is probably the best comparison to how a possible Chavez deal could look (obviously the dollars would be different), but the Dodgers did work Hudson out in secret on two consecutive days to test out his surgically repaired wrist before signing him.  Granted, Chavez could be considered a bigger gamble than Hudson was at that time, but I could easily see Chavez working out for Ned & Co. a couple of times and then getting a one-year deal that’s low on base salary, yet full of incentives if everything checks out physically.  I like it.

Photo Credit: Jeff Gross/Getty Images