A lot of teams wanted him, but it looks like Eric Chavez will be returning to Arizona.
Chavez, 36, signed with the Diamondbacks as a free agent last season and hit .281 with an .810 on-base plus slugging mark in 254 plate appearances. He provided crucial depth in the corner infield positions and even started at third for an early chunk of the season when Martin Prado had to shift to second base filling in for Aaron Hill when he went down with a broken hand.
When a veteran like Chavez enters the life of the nomadic veteran only receiving one-year deals, it’s always good to take an offer to stay at a certain place, and continue the progress that surpasses the time frame of a full season.
“I think Chavez, if he was to come back a second year, would probably even have a more meaningful role because of the comfort level,” D-backs GM Kevin Towers said to MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert earlier this offseason. “He’s been here a year. When you come in from outside the organization, you don’t want to ruffle any feathers or be too aggressive too early. But in talking to him this winter, I think if he were to come back, I could see him really being a leader on the club and also a weapon as well, coming off the bench on the days that he does play.”
Towers did have an offer for Chavez, but at the twilight of his career, Chavez wanted to first see if he can latch onto a winning team before accepting an offer to return to the Diamondbacks. The addition of slugger Mark Trumbo and young closer Addison Reed clearly pleases Chavez and made the idea of coming back a lot sweeter.
With Chavez’s success at the plate, manager Kirk Gibson spoke often about having to resist the temptation to play him too much. At his age and with his injury history, Chavez is best when not used more than two days in a row.
Chavez recently been reduced to a more limited role mostly because of injuries. Since 2007, he has only appeared in more than 100 games in single season only once. Because of his age and injury history, Chavez is best when his production is spread out over the course of the season and not used as an everyday starter.
That being said, D-backs manager Kirk Gibson constantly had to resist the temptation to play him too much because of his hitting production.
With the Chavez signing, the infield depth is intact. Towers will likely now turn his attention to bringing an ace to the desert.