I won’t lie; if signing Prince Fielder is akin to getting buying a Lamborghini, signing Endy Chavez is probably like buying a Buick. And a used one at that. However the O’s went ahead and bought that Buick late yesterday when they inked Chavez to a one-year deal for an undisclosed amount. Chavez in effect will be a backup outfielder, and will probably platoon with Nolan Reimold in left field.
I don’t say this with any knowledge of the situation per se, however I wouldn’t be surprised to see Chavez DH a bit for the O’s as well. In 2011 with the Texas Rangers, Chavez hit .301 in 83 games. He’s also a career .274 hitter. So this sounds like a match made in heaven for the most part, right? It does add depth to the Orioles, and given the propensity in the past for injuries over the course of the season. Part of my point over the course of the past two seasons has been that the O’s in theory had good teams on the field. But when those players get injured someone else needs to be there to step in. The O’s have that now in Chavez. (Ideally of course you never need him to step in as a starter…)
The one thing I would say about Chavez and his .301 average last season is that he played at Rangers Ballpark, which is one of the premier hitters’ parks in the league. However he only had 19 extra-base hits, including five HR’s. In essence he’s a hit-for-average guy, which isn’t a bad thing. Assuming he would bat in the bottom of the lineup, if he can get on base the likes of Roberts and Markakis can drive him in. With all of this said, if the Orioles end up having injuries in the outfield in 2012, we’ll see just how valuable of a signing this is.
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