Joel Sherman of the New York Post just tweeted that, while there’s nothing official yet, he’s hearing that Yankees utilityman Eric Chavez is “leaning heavily” toward retirement.
Chavez had more plate appearances this year than he had had since 2007 — a whole 175 of them — but the magic is long gone. He hit .263/.320/.356 with two homers in a utility role that, thanks to yet more injuries, was more limited than it otherwise would have been given A-Rod’s injuries. It’s hard to conclude anything other than “it’s time.”
There was a time several years ago, however, when it looked like Chavez was a Hall of Famer in the making. From 2000-2006 he hit .273/.352/.495 with 199 homers while winning six gold gloves. Believing that he was the future of the franchise, the A’s gave him a six-year, $66 million contract in 2005. Sadly, injuries started to plague him a year later and he never played in 100 games after 2006.
If this is the end, it represents the end of one of the more notable “what if” careers in recent baseball history. And reminds us that durability, however unsexy it may be, is perhaps the most underrated trait for an elite baseball player.
The Brewers and Dodgers haven’t had much action in Game 4 of the NLCS, bringing a 1-1 game through 10 innings and about four and a half hours. We finally got something to get the blood pumping, though, when Dodgers shortstop Manny Machado and Brewers first baseman Jesús Aguilar exchanged some words with each other, prompting both teams’ benches to spill onto the field.
With one out, Machado grounded a 3-1, 95 MPH fastball to shortstop Orlando Arcia, who made an easy throw to first base to complete the out. Machado, running the play out, dragged his left leg, slamming it into Aguilar’s leg as he crossed the bag, causing himself to stumble momentarily. Machado went back and jawed at Aguilar like it was his fault.
Machado has not had the best press in the NLCS. He failed to run out a grounder in Game 2, then made a couple of slides in Game 3 that attempted to interfere with Arcia at the second base bag. He was called for interference on the second one. Machado hasn’t earned the benefit of the doubt for his actions tonight.
It’s difficult to imagine Machado’s behavior during the NLCS will affect his windfall as a free agent this offseason, but he’s proving to be somewhat of a distraction for a team trying to get back to the World Series. And that’s not good.