Endy Chavez is not one of the most talked-about Seattle Mariners, but the 35-year-old outfielder is quietly having one of the better seasons of his career.
Chavez, who signed with the Mariners as a free agent in March of this year, is hitting a respectable .279 in 64 games for the Mariners this year. His best season by far was in 2006 for the New York Mets, when he hit .306/.348/.431. However, in playing just 64 games for the Baltimore Orioles last year, the outfielder managed to just clear the Mendoza line at .203.
The Mariners took a risk by signing him in March to go along with fellow risky outfielders Jason Bay and Raul Ibanez. Ibanez has been huge fore the Mariners so far this season, while Bay has been somewhat disappointing. Considering the kind of player Chavez is, his performance in the first half of this season falls somewhere between the hot-hitting Ibanez and the struggling Bay.
If Chavez can keep his average in the high .200s, he may find himself in the outfield for the Mariners again next year. Bay is hitting just .214 and not providing any power to the lineup, which is what the team was hoping for. Current center fielder Dustin Ackley is even worse, batting just .206.
More than anything, the Mariners need offensive production from their outfielders, and right now they are only really getting it from Ibanez. Chavez isn’t a power hitter, but he may find a regular spot in near the top of the batting order along with Kyle Seager and Brad Miller.
Chavez still has work to do to prove he is worth keeping around. If his hitting drops off in the second half of the season, the Mariners could easily decide he isn’t worth the $2.05 million they will pay him for 2013 and cut him loose just like many of his previous teams did. However, with the team not being able to find a better outfielder who can hit with power in the middle of the lineup, the Mariners could do worse than keeping him around.