Jesse Johnson-US PRESSWIRE
The Red Sox might be targeting Eric Chavez to give their infield some left-handed power. The question is, is he a platoon bat for an intricate first base - catcher situation, or just a bench bat for the late innings?
The night of news that just won't stop keeps on flowing, as Alex Speier says the Red Sox are interested in acquiring infielder Eric Chavez.
It wouldn't be a glamorous move, but it might be the last piece to the 1B/C puzzle that's currently set itself up in Boston's infield, as well as an answer to the Sox' apparent lack of left-handed offense. In his career, Chavez is a .280/.358/.511 hitter against right-handed pitching. This year with the Yankees that figure was .298/.365/.543. Seems like a pretty good fit on a team with plenty of platoon splits.
Now, for all that, Chavez is not the guy you ask to take all the right-handed pitchers the game has to offer. He's a serious injury risk, and while he played in 113 games for the Yankees this past season, 40 of those were bench appearances. The good news is that between WIll Middlebrooks, Mike Napoli, and the catching corps, the Sox probably aren't looking for more than that.
The question is, where will they need him, and why? Earlier today, I theorized the Sox could still be in the market for a left-handed hitting first baseman with an eye to removing Jarrod Saltalamacchia from the mix. This may or may not be that move. On the one hand, finding 162 games of catching from Napoli and Ross is a little suspect, and will likely require the team to turn to the unproven Ryan Lavarnway for a spell.
On the other hand, Chavez getting 80 games against RHP at first base could be pretty tempting, especially if you could keep Napoli's career .845 OPS vs. RHP in the lineup by sticking him behind the plate. And when a lefty comes up, it's as simple as shifting Napoli back to first, and Ross in at catcher.
Chavez isn't the most well-rounded of players, and there are probably, in a vacuum, better options that the Sox could get without jumping through too many hoops for. But if they're looking to fill this role without surrendering anything in terms of prospects or much in terms of dollars in return, then Chavez fits.