Endy Chavez Signs a Minor League Deal With the Seattle Mariners
For the third consecutive offseason, the happy marriage between Endy Chavez and the Seattle Mariners is renewed.
The always trustworthy Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune reported that the Mariners have signed left-handed outfielder Endy Chavez to a 1-year minor league deal with the quintessential invite to Spring Training.
Dutton also hints at a return for another former Mariner outfielder, something I will explore in a post later today.
End Chavez turns 37 in February, but over the last two seasons he has played an integral depth role in the Mariners shallow outfield.
In 252 plate appearances for the Mariners in 2014– after being called up from the minors with an injury to Michael Saunders— Chavez batted .276/.317/.371. His dependability, and his willingness to perform any role in any capacity for the team, was invaluable.
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Endy is known most famously in baseball for his home run robbing catch in the World Series while playing for the New York Mets. But in recent seasons he has been a saving grace for the Seattle Mariners.
Among players with more than 200 plate appearances for the M’s last season, Endy was second on the team in batting average behind only Robinson Cano— who hit .314. Endy also had the 3rd best K/BB ratio on the team (at 2/1), behind only Cano and dearly departed Kendrys Morales.
So what sort of role will Endy Chavez play for the Mariners in 2015? This season, more than the previous two, has the Mariners in a deeper position in the outfield. Dustin Ackley and Austin Jackson look to be in left field and centerfield, respectively. And in right a platoon of Seth Smith and Justin Ruggiano seems to be the plan.
Then, of course, Nelson Cruz could see a few games or innings in right field. And then youngsters James Jones and Stefen Romero will likely start the year in Triple-A with Endy.
So is Endy a depth move? Or should we expect to see him play a lot this season?
In my opinion, the fewer at-bats Endy gets at the Major League level, the better the Mariners will likely be playing. So though I love Endy, I hope the Mariners outfield has staying power, and the M’s won’t need him until September for his speed and defense.