After contemplating retirement following four straight injury wrecked seasons Eric Chavez instead signed a minor-league deal with the Yankees and has parlayed a healthy, productive spring training into a spot on the Opening Day roster.
Chavez has hit .405 with a homer and four doubles in 42 at-bats this spring, which is remarkable less for the batting average and more for the fact that he averaged just 77 at-bats for the A’s during the past three seasons.
He’ll serve as the corner infield backup behind third baseman Alex Rodriguez and first baseman Mark Teixeira, while perhaps also seeing a little action at designated hitter in place of Jorge Posada. At this point a part-time role is ideal for Chavez and if healthy he could be an excellent reserve, but “if healthy” stopped meaning much with him years ago.
Chavez will receive $1.5 million upfront for making the team and can earn another $4 million in incentives based on playing time.
The Orioles singlehandedly kept the rumor mill churning this weekend. MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports that the club is interested in making a play for free agent right-hander Lance Lynn, adding him to a list of potential candidates that also includes free agent righty Alex Cobb. The two are expected to command similar contracts in free agency, but Morosi notes that the Orioles may prefer Cobb based on his familiarity with the AL East.
Lynn, 30, is two years removed from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. Despite missing the 2016 season, he bounced back with a respectable 11-8 record in 33 starts and complemented his efforts with a 3.43 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 7.4 SO/9 over 186 1/3 innings for the 2017 Cardinals. He lost several days with a blister on his pitching hand in early September, but managed to avoid any major injuries and can reasonably be expected to shoulder another heavy workload in 2018.
Lynn may not be the Orioles’ first choice to beef up their starting rotation, but there’s no doubt that he’ll be in high demand as one of very few viable starters on the market this winter. The veteran righty rejected his one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Cardinals on Thursday and will likely be seeking a multi-year contract, one that Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch estimates around five years and $100+ million. If the Orioles are willing to bite that bullet, they’ll still need to compensate the Cardinals with their third pick in next year’s draft.