The Arizona Diamondbacks went into the offseason looking for a third baseman, and it appears they have found one.
However, their best option at the position is not the guy everyone thought it would be.
Sure, Martin Prado may eventually reclaim the role and become the player the team thought he would be, but at this moment it is veteran free agent signing Eric Chavez who is manning the hot corner and producing at the plate.
The 35-year-old has appeared in 29 games, and through 84 at bats is hitting .310 with four home runs and 16 RBI. He’s also walked eight times.
An under-the-radar acquisition who figured to play a part-time role with the D-backs, Chavez has forced his way into manager Kirk Gibson’s lineup on a daily basis.
“I’ve actually played a little bit more,” Chavez told Arizona Sports 620’s Burns and Gambo when asked if he’s playing as much as he thought he would when he signed with the team.
Chavez noted that injuries have forced the issue some, as Aaron Hill being out has meant more time at second for Prado, which means more time on the field for himself.
“When you get into situations you just never bank on anything,” he said. “You’ve got to be ready to play because injuries are a big part of this game, and whether I was platooning or if I played once or twice a week, whatever it was I was mentally prepared to do it.
“Physically, if I don’t have to play every day my chances of making it through this season go up tremendously.”
And therein lies the rub with regards to Chavez. Last season he appeared in 113 games for the New York Yankees, and batted .281 with 16 home runs and 37 RBI. However, only 74 of those 113 games saw him play in the field. It was a bit of a resurgence for the former All-Star, and one that led the D-backs to having interest in bringing the veteran to the Valley.
So while Chavez may be playing at a level worthy of being in the every day lineup, the fact of the matter is there is concern that doing so will limit his health and effectiveness.
No doubt that is something the D-backs will keep an eye on, but with the patchwork lineup they’ve had to field and the way Chavez is playing, chances are good you’ll see him in the lineup more often than not.