<span class="vcard">Aaron Gleeman</span>

Toronto Blue Jays v New York Yankees

Eric Chavez joins the Yankees as special assignment scout

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Eric Chavez announced his retirement last month after 17 seasons in the majors, but he’s staying in baseball: Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports that Chavez has joined the Yankees as a special assignment scout.

Chavez played for the Yankees in 2011 and 2012, hitting .274 with a .783 OPS in a part-time role.

After emerging as one of the best all-around third basemen in baseball early in his career injuries derailed Chavez, but he settled in as a solid role player and was an above-average hitter into his mid-30s.

Indians exercise $3.5 million option on Mike Aviles

Mike Aviles, Asdrubal Cabrera
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Cleveland has exercised its $3.5 million option on Mike Aviles, bringing back the 34-year-old infielder for next season.

Aviles has been a terrible hitter for a long time now, so this is paying a premium for defensive versatility and … I dunno, maybe clubhouse presence.

This season he hit just .247 with a .616 OPS in 113 games and Aviles hasn’t cracked a .700 OPS since 2010. His on-base percentages during the past four years are .289, .282, .282, and .273. Again, those are on-base percentage and not batting averages.

Cleveland could have bought out Aviles for $250,000.

GM says Red Sox will have “a conversation” with free agent Jon Lester

Jon Lester Getty
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No surprise, but general manager Ben Cherington confirmed that the Red Sox will be in contact with Jon Lester in an attempt to re-sign the free agent after trading him to the A’s on July 31.

Again, we’re going to try to build the best team we can, and that is one of the areas we need to add to, the rotation. We know him well and hope we get a chance to talk to him. I’m sure he’ll talk to others and I’m sure we’ll talk to others. We just have to get into the offseason and see what comes of it.

The relationship is in place that will allow for a conversation, and from there, we’ll see. He’ll have options; we will, too. And we look forward to having a constructive conversation at some point.

Trading away Lester for Yoenis Cespedes and then re-signing Lester as a free agent would be a nifty little series of events for the Red Sox, but the 30-year-old left-hander figures to have his pick of massive long-term contracts.

Lester had a 2.35 ERA in 11 starts for the A’s, finishing the season with a 2.46 ERA and 220/48 K/BB ratio in 220 innings overall. He was drafted by the Red Sox in 2002 and made 241 starts for Boston.

Brewers decline Rickie Weeks’ option

rickie-weeks-brewers2
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Rickie Weeks had a nice season after being demoted to a part-time role in Milwaukee, but the Brewers have decided to decline his $11.5 million option for 2015.

Weeks has spent his entire career with the Brewers after being the No. 2 overall pick in the 2003 draft, hitting .249 with 148 homers, 126 steals, and a .771 OPS in 1,142 games. He’s been injured a lot and his production has varied wildly, but overall Weeks has been an above-average hitter playing an up-the-middle defensive position.

He won’t get $11.5 million anywhere else for next season, but Weeks does figure to land a regular gig somewhere. Scooter Gennett will remain the Brewers’ primary second baseman after hitting .289 with nine homers and a .754 OPS in 137 games this season as a 24-year-old.

Daisuke Matsuzaka has a multi-year offer to return to Japan

Daisuke Matsuzaka
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Adam Rubin of ESPN New York passes along a report from Sports Hochi in Japan that says the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks of the Japanese League have offered Daisuke Matsuzaka a four-year contract.

According to the report the deal would be worth about $3.5 million per season, which is well beyond what Matsuzaka could expect to make in American even if he were somehow able to snag a guaranteed one-year contract from some team.

Matsuzaka pitched reasonably well for the Mets after being shifted to the bullpen, but the 34-year-old right-hander has made it clear that he still wants to be a starter and returning to Japan seems like the best opportunity (and biggest payday) to do so.

Matsuzaka left Japan in 2007 to sign a six-year, $52 million contract with the Red Sox and had immediate success, but dating back to 2009 he’s combined to throw 418 innings with a 5.10 ERA.