The New York Yankees have signed Eric Chavez to a one-year deal worth $900,000 after signing Raul Ibanez to a one-year deal. Brian Cashman stated that it was up to Chavez to take an offer with the team, and the former Oakland Athletics third baseman did just that. The 35-year-old is a solid player off the bench and is a good clubhouse guy to have. He has value to the Yankees under this type of contract and was worth 0.6 WAR last season for the Bombers in 175 plate appearances.
Eric Chavez was once one of the best third basemen in baseball and was an important player for the Athletics until injuries derailed his career. After three seasons with a 0.0 WAR or worse with the A’s, Chavez bounced back in his first year with the Yankees last season and was a more than adequate bench player in New York. While he was poor as a hitter (.294 wOBA), he played well defensively and had some value as a baserunner.
Based on his projection given by Bill James and the Simple WAR Calculator, Eric Chavez will be worth 0.6 WAR next season if given 119 PAs (the same as last year). He is a solid, versatile player who can play quality innings at third base and is a good defensive player. His 79 wRC+ isn’t terrible for a bench guy at 3B, especially considering the dearth of talent at the hot corner.
The Yankees are paying a guy worth about 0.5 WAR less than market value. It may seem hard to believe, but Eric Chavez is worth $1.5 million based on his ability to provide solid play for a contending team. Again, he is a veteran and a stand-up guy who is more than just a quality filler for the Yanks.
When using a WAR/$ value, based on the totals from the Simple WAR Calculator, Eric Chavez is worth $2.8 million. Those totals are inflated, and he is worth about $2.25 million under the assumption that one win is worth $4.5 million and each win is exponential (my belief on this matter, although most people disagree with it). Simply put, it’s easier to find four 0.5 WAR players than one 2 WAR player, so shouldn’t each win from the 2 WAR player be worth more?
In any case, Chavez is still worth about $1.5 million due to the fact that he is at least useful- especially for a 3B- in 100-150 appearances at the plate. Combine that with average base-running and good defense, and you get a 35-year-old veteran who has something to offer to this contending club. This was another good, small scale move for the Yankees. Small scale? Yeah, Cashman knows what he’s doing, which is making the smart acquisition and not overpaying.
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