NEW YORK, NY: Eric Chavez #12 of the New York Yankees makes a play for the third out of the second inning against Franklin Gutierrez (not pictured) of the Seattle Mariners at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Nobody is surprised that one-time superstar Eric Chavez is back with the Yankees. He would like to surprise everybody by staying healthy.
The Yankees were going to sign Raul Ibanez, and they signed Raul Ibanez.
The Yankees were going to re-sign Eric Chavez, and now they're about to re-sign Eric Chavez.
The veteran infielder agreed to a one-year, $900,000 deal that will include incentive, according to a person with knowledge of the talks, who requested anonymity because the deal is pending a physical.
The move was hardly a surprise. The Yankees made it clear all throughout the offseason that they were interested in bring back Chavez, who hit .263 with two homers and 26 RBI in 58 games last season. And earlier in the day, even before he had even reached and agreement, manager Joe Girardi made reference to Chavez backing up first baseman Mark Teixeira and third baseman Alex Rodriguez next season.
--snip--Meanwhile, Girardi confirmed that the 39-year-old Ibanez will serve primarily as the designated hitter against right-handed pitching. He would form half of a planned platoon at DH with Andruw Jones, who would face left-handers.
We've been over all this before, but Eric Chavez is probably better than Raul Ibañez, right now, at hitting well-thrown baseballs. Chavez doesn't get the better job because the guy just can't seem to stay off the DL. Chavez got into 58 games last season, which was actually quite an accomplishment considering he'd got into 64 games in the three previous seasons. The Yankees probably will be thrilled if he's healthy enough to play another 58 games, which is why they're paying him less than a million bucks.
With Chavez, Ibañez, and Russell Branyan in camp, the Yankees have plenty of options for that platoon with Andruw Jones. None of those guys are exactly David Justice at this point, but all are capable of decent production when healthy, and if used judiciously. What strikes me as odd is that Ibañez is supposedly the No. 1 option, when he's oldest and perhaps the least talented of the trio.