A's Preview: Eric Chavez

Coming off yet another injury plagued season, Eric Chavez, a six-time gold glove winner, knows that 2010 may be his last shot at resurrecting what could have been a Hall of Fame career.

From 2000 to 2006, Chavez hit .273/.353/.495 and averaged 28 HR and 94 RBI per season. During that time frame, Chavez won six-consecutive gold gloves and proved to be one of the best players in the league.

However, since 2007, Chavez has appeared in only 121 games. In contrast to his numbers while healthy (.273/.353/.495) Chavez since 2007 has only been able to muster a .196/.243/.324 line.

After undergoing another surgery last year, Chavez is not as optimistic as he has been in the past. Instead, Chavez approaches the 2010 campaign with a realistic outlook. He will no longer be the A’s premier third baseman, as Kevin Kouzmanoff is expected to fulfill that role. Instead, Chavez, who’s in his last year of the $66 million contract he signed in 2004, will serve as a utility player.

Chavez, who’s always been hardworking, is looking forward to contributing this season in just about any way he can. The A’s will use Chavez at third, short, first and possibly the outfield. Chavez will also share some time at DH with Jack Cust.

Chavez is also expected to serve as a key veteran leader for a clubhouse that is currently caught in the middle of a youth movement. However, the only way he will be able to fulfill that role, is if he stays healthy all season. Last season, Chavez spent most his time away from the clubhouse, to concentrate on his rehab.

If Chavez, 32, is unable to stay healthy this season, it might mean the end for a very solid career. Chavez has recently stated that he will not undergo another surgery to prolong his baseball career. As a plan to keep Chavez fresh, and away from the trainer’s room,  the A’s plan to use Chavez in about four games (maximum) per week.

Here’s my PREDICTION for the A’s 3B, Eric Chavez in 2010:

192 AB’s, .256/.342/.482, 9 HR, 29 RBI.

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