Oct 16, 2012; Detroit, MI, USA; New York Yankees third baseman Eric Chavez throws to first base during game three of the 2012 ALCS against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Diamondback to Sign Eric Chavez

The Arizona Diamondbacks have been among the busiest teams so far at the Winter Meetings, rumored to be involved to all sorts of trade discussions. This afternoon, they turned their attention to the free agent market and came to terms to third baseman Eric Chavez.

Chavez, who spent the last two seasons with the Yankees, is a six-time gold glove winner as a third baseman, but has been dealing with back issues that have kept him from being an everyday player since 2006. He did stay healthy enough last season to play in 113 games for the Yankees, his highest total since that ’06 season with Oakland.

In 2012, Chavez saw his offensive prowess return as well, as he clubbed 16 home runs in just 278 at bats and produced a .281/.348/.496 line. The .845 OPS was his highest since 2004.

If Chavez is healthy, he showed last season that he can still be an upper-tier starter at third base in the major leagues. Moving to the National League for the first time in his career, however, will eliminate the ability to get him regular “days off” by using him as the DH. Chavez can play either corner infield position and, at worst, should be a valuable bat off the bench.

Arizona could use Chavez as the strong half of a third base platoon with Chris Johnson.

While this is a nice pickup for Arizona, it’s another crushing blow to the off-season of the New York Yankees. With news that Alex Rodriguez will miss at least the first half of the 2013 season, New York is in dire need of someone capable of holding down the fort. Most assumed that man would be Chavez, but that obviously isn’t going to happen now. Jeff Keppinger, whom was also a Yankee target, is now off the board as well, signing with the White Sox on Wednesday.

Tags: Arizona Diamondbacks Eric Chavez New York Yankees

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