The Seldom Used 25th Man

Yanks roll as Stewart, CC shine
The Teixeira Analysis: Left-Handed Balls In Play
(AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek)

The season is still relatively young, but we already have a pretty good idea of how the different pieces of the roster fit together. Eduardo Nunez and Andruw Jones are part of an unorthodox DH platoon, Clay Rapada is the low-leverage lefty reliever, and Chris Stewart is the rarely seen backup catcher. David Phelps has settled in as the long man and could eventually earn more responsibility. Everyone on the roster seems to have their set role except for one man: Eric Chavez.

Through eleven games, we’ve seen Chavez a total of five times. He pinch-hit for Nunez when the Yankees were down six runs with one out in the ninth inning of the second game of the season, singling off Josh Lueke for his lone hit of the campaign. He’s pinch-made outs on three other occasions with the Yankees down multiple runs in the late innings, and in one other appearance he replaced Nunez for defensive purposes after the Yankees took the lead in extra innings in Baltimore. Other than that, he’s been nothing more than a spectator.

Before his foot injury last season, Chavez was used primarily to rest Alex Rodriguez at third base and occasionally sub-in for Mark Teixeira at first. He was getting roughly two starts a week, but now it’s Nunez getting the playing time whenever A-Rod needs a day. When Teixeira came down with flu-like symptoms prior to last night’s game, it was Nick Swisher at first, not Chavez. That probably had something to do with the left-handed Francisco Liriano being on the mound, but Joe Girardi said before the game that he wanted to rest Swisher because he anticipates using his heavily in the coming weeks. Once Tex got sick, Girardi scrapped the Swisher plan rather than start Chavez against the southpaw.

Given the Yankees’ insistence on getting Nunez playing time, Chavez is a square peg and the roster is a round hole. There’s no obvious role for him other than the occasional pinch-hitting appearance or defensive replacement late in blowouts, whenever Girardi has a chance to rest both A-Rod and Derek Jeter for a few innings. Then again, that’s usually what the 25th man on the roster does anyway. Chavez is overqualified for the job despite his injury-proneness, but I suppose that’s the perk of having veteran players want to be on your team. Once the schedule opens up a bit and off days become a little more spread out, chances are we’ll start to see a little more of Chavez. Right now he’s just a seldom used spare part.

Yanks roll as Stewart, CC shine
The Teixeira Analysis: Left-Handed Balls In Play
  • Robinson Tilapia

    We’ll see plenty of Chavez as the season wears on. Still 11 games.

  • viridiana

    Love having Chavez. Capable of brilliant play at third — and valuable insurance for questionable A-Rod. That said, would be nice if he could recover his power stroke.

  • Monterowasdinero

    He’ll get his chance. He is a strong man-saw him hit some bombs up on Eutaw street in right center at Camden bp last week.

  • paul

    makes our pdeth look good. a great problem to have. he isnt complaining so let it ride…still 151 plus games left, so i think he will have some playing time. :)

  • paul


  • mike_h

    I thought Chavez was supposed to spell ARod and Tex at 3B/1B and the occasional DH/PH duties just like last year but they are that has gone out the door.

    hopefully Chavez gets cuts at 3B in Toronto to keep ARod off the turf at Rogers centre

    • jsbrendog

      no, chavez shouldn’t be getting those reps. nunez should. he is a much better hitter and has potential to get better where at chavez’s point in his career he is what he is, a little no no power singles hitter who is very fragile but if he stays healthy plays above average defense.

      the yankees need to find out if nunez can play every day or be a major league player. he has >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> mor epotential and reasons to be played than chavez

  • mike

    Tough to see when both arod and jeter wil be out of the lineup at the same time, tho, unless multi-week injury hits someone.

    i thought a good time to get him some playing time at 1B over the past/next few days and DH Tex- figuring the older Yanks could play with the beautiful weather

    lets see if Tex stomach virus continues :)

    • Slugger27

      i think it was more injury insurance than anything. day game after night game against right handers as well…

      but yeah, not a big role.

      • jsbrendog

        this. i agree with your thoughts, except to take them one further I would say he is nunez insurance. If arod gets hurt then nunez becomes the 3b and chavez becomes the 3b when jetr gets a day off. so in reality his role prob wouldnt even expand that much since jones/ibanez stil would split the dh role, and nunez would slide into 3rd unless he royally effs it up. at least, this is what i hope, cause if not it would make no sense.

  • Robinson Tilapia

    I was just sitting with my Red Sox fan friend at work comparing active rosters. I think I made her cry. When you compare the depth on both rosters, it’s not even close. I love having a vet like Chavez who knows how to play his position, knows his limitations as a ballplayer, and wants to be a Yankee.

  • jsbrendog

    which is exactly why it made no sense to sign him. he has been a square peg for a round roster hole since the offseason began.

    he can’t even hit anymore. again, 25th man, so, yeah, whatever, but eh. he doesn’t deserve playing time and probably wouldn’t stay healthy/be any good if he did get it (when he will get it)

    • Havok9120

      Uhm. No.

      The guy is a very, very, very good defender off the bench and doesn’t have a noodle bat against righties. I had almost no problem with his playing time last year, and I’ll have absolutely no problem with his reduced role. He’s a great bench pickup, all things considered.

      I mean, who would you rather have in that slot? Laird?

      • jsbrendog

        you have no problem wit the 50 games he was able to play? well nothing abot him is good enough to have to risk having laird in there because chavez cant stay healthy. he. isnt. good. at. baseball. anymore.

        no pop singles hitter based on his splits last yr. AND he cant even stay healthy. someone could easily replicate his poor offense and ctually STAY HEALTHY

  • 212714619

    This is my first blogging experience. I hope it is as fulfilling as watching the RedSox get waxed yesterday by Texas. Clearly the Yankees know what Chaves can do.They probably want to ensure he is healthy when they really need him.That’s my guess. Wow this blogging thing is great. Let’s change the subject. Is anyone listening. Jeter 4,000? a no-brain er. He is better right now than anyone I have seen when active with 3,100 +.
    He may have to leave the yanks to break the alltime mark. But by then it won’t seem as bad to us hard core Yankee fans to see him in another uni.
    besides by then Detroit will be irrelevant again and they will need to sell tickets. Jeter going after the all time hit record in 2017 will be just what they need. Keep it going Jete, you are my man.

    • rek4gehrig

      What do the numbers mean?

      • Havok9120

        Probably a signal for The Revolution to begin.