Thursday, March 5, 2009

30 A's in 30 Days – Eric Chavez

Acquired: Drafted in 1st round, 1996.
Contract: Six years ($66M, total) thru 2010, with 2011 team option ($12.5M).
Position: Starting Third Baseman

Projected BA/OBP/SLG: (.247/.331/.427)

Over/Under: Next to Joltin' Jack Cust (with a capital "K") there's not a more polarizing player amongst A's fans. Chavez has played in a combined 113 games over the past two seasons and hasn't calmed his cadre of naysayers with his incessantly negative candor or the false perception that he's not a "clutch" hitter (career with RISP: .270/.365/.455). I like the OVER for Chavez in '09, if he stays healthy. His fragile psyche won't fall apart while playing in front of 8,000 fans in Oakland each night and his fragile body should be helped with regular rest against even average left-handed pitchers.

By the Numbers: 20,000 – The (approximate) number of Eric Chavez stories I've heard from people who (allegedly) knew him at San Diego's Mt. Carmel High School. The moment that anyone – friend, acquaintance or stranger – eyes my A's t-shirt within the confines of San Diego county, I'm guaranteed ten minutes of an almost-certainly imaginary outing down memory lane.

Surefire '09 Prediction: If history is our guide, he'll get off to a slow start – struggling to keep his surgically repaired shoulder loose during those Arctic April night games in Oakland. Chavez will do a complete 180° off of the overly-optimistic health assessment he's been preaching this spring.

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