Eric Chavez announces retirement

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Eric Chavez, who’s spent most of this season on the Diamondbacks’ disabled list with a knee injury, has decided to retire now rather than waiting until the offseason.

Injuries derailed what was a very promising career for Chavez while with the A’s, but he bounced back and got healthy enough to thrive in part-time roles for the Yankees and Diamondbacks.

Before all the health problems struck he was a spectacular defensive third baseman with 30-homer power who posted an above-average OPS every season from 2000-2007 and won six Gold Glove awards by age 28. But then he never topped 400 plate appearances in a season after age 29 and retires at 36 with 260 homers, 1,477 hits, and an .818 OPS in 1,615 games while earning nearly $85 million.

It’s a shame Chavez couldn’t have had an injury-free career, because he was an excellent all-around player and dramatically underrated, but he still managed to have a helluva run.

Ramón Laureano made an absolutely ridiculous play yesterday

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I talked about it in the recaps, but dear lord does Oakland A’s outfielder Ramón Laureano’s play in yesterday’s game against the Blue Jays deserve it’s own post.

Jays first baseman Justin Smoak led off the second with a single Then Teoscar Hernández then came up and hit a long drive to center. In what, in and of itself, would’ve lead the highlight reels yesterday, Laureano ranged back to the wall and reached over to rob Hernández of a homer.

Laureano is known best for his arm, though, and that’s when he unleashed that hose, attempting to double off Smoak at first base all the way from the warning track. The throw was not on target — indeed, it sailed way past first base — but that was itself impressive as all get-out. As A’s pitcher Brett Anderson said after the game, he’s pretty sure the throw went farther than Hernández hit the ball in the first place. The arm strength on display there was simply phenomenal. But it was also lucky.

Lucky because the throw went so far into foul territory that it gave Smoak the courage to break for second base. Laureano was not the only one playing great defense on the play, though: A’s catcher Nick Hundley backed up the play, got Laureano’s errant throw and fired it down to second, nailing Smoak. And heck, Hundley’s throw was nothing to sneeze at either:

That did not go as an outfield assist for Lauerano, obviously, as his bad throw — which would’ve been an error had Smoak managed to advance, we must admit — broke that up. So, in the books it goes as an F7 and then a separate 2-4 putout. Still, it just shows Laueano’s incredible defensive abilities, both with the leather and with that cannon he has for an arm.

An arm that, this play not withstanding, gets him plenty of assists. Indeed, he has has five assists this season already and has 14 assists in just 70 games, which is a lot. To put it in perspective, it usually takes somewhere between 12-18 to lead the league in a full season with 20 being an outlier of sorts, only seen once every five years or so.

So, if you’re gonna hit it to center against the A’s, make sure you hit it all the way out. And if Laureano gets to it, for god’s sake, don’t run on him.