End-y of an Era: Mariners Release Endy Chavez
Veterans Joe Saunders, Franklin Gutierrez and Endy Chavez were all cut loose by the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday morning in Peoria. Saunders and Gutierrez were both quickly resigned to Triple-A contracts, and will remain in the organization. Chavez however was not retained, and thus can pursue employment elsewhere.
Endy never really found his swing this spring. He hit just .190 with 1 double and 1 RBI across 21 at bats this spring. He did play steady defense at all three outfield spots, but that was not enough for the 37-year-old to crack the roster. It was clear entering spring training that his chances of heading north to Seattle on Opening Day were very slim. The Mariners added outfielders Seth Smith, Justin Ruggiano and Rickie Weeks this winter, and the M’€™s just did not have enough room for Endy on the 25-man roster.
It is sad news for all Mariners’€™ fans that Endy Chavez will not be on the team in 2015. Chavez appeared in 177 games for the Mariners over the past 2 seasons, in what was his second stint in the Emerald City. Chavez hit .276 with 2 home runs, 23 RBI’€™s and 5 stolen bases across 232 at bats in 2014. It seems strange how disappointed fans are when you look at his numbers, but Endy was much more valuable to the club than his stats indicate.
Aug 7, 2014; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Mariners right fielder Endy Chavez (9) hugs a teammate in the dugout following his two-run home run against the Chicago White Sox during the fourth inning at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Endy Chavez provided the Mariners with a much-needed veteran presence the past 2 years. He may not have had a huge impact on the field, but he was a unifying personality in the clubhouse. Chavez was well known for being Felix Hernandez‘€™s best friend, but everybody of the team liked him, and everybody respected him. Chavez was quick to diffuse tense situations by flashing his bright smile, or putting his arm around a slumping teammate. You can bet there were not many players happy to see Endy walk out the door today.
The 13-year vet did the little things right. He grinded out at bats, and he played solid defense. He hustled, and he never complained about lack of playing time.
My favorite memory of Endy from last season came on August 22 in Boston against the Red Sox. The Mariners had lost 3 of their last 5 games, and were trailing the Sox by 3 runs in the top of the 9th inning. Logan Morrison was on first base, but the Mariners had done nothing all night. Seattle was down to their final out, but Chavez battled Red Sox closer Koji Uehara, working a 10-pitch walk to keep the inning alive. Chavez fouled of 4 tough pitches in one of the best at bats I have ever seen. His walk sparked a rally, and the Mariners came back to win the game 5-3 in the 9th inning. Seattle proceeded to sweep the Red Sox, and the momentum gained from Chavez’s brilliant at bat was a big reason why.
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Chavez will be sorely missed by his teammates and the fans, but the Mariners made the right decision today. Baseball is a numbers game, and the M’s simply do not a spot for Endy right now. I don’t blame him for not wanting to sign a triple-A deal, but if nothing materializes on the open market, he might be interested in a reunion the Mariners.
The 37-year-old can play all three outfield spots, and brings a great attitude to the ballpark every day. He could be an attractive option for the Mariners if injuries were to occur. Endy Chavez was a consummate professional with the M’€™s, and I hope he gets another opportunity to play in the Major Leagues.
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