According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, the Pittsburgh Pirates are one of seven teams to express interest in free agent Eric Chavez. The other teams to express interest are the New York Yankees, Texas Rangers, Tampa Bay Rays, Atlanta Braves, Arizona Diamondbacks and Washington Nationals.
Chavez, 36, would be a nice addition to the Pirates’ bench if they can sign him on a relatively cheap deal. He is able to play first base and third base very well. Along with being able to play two positions off the bench, he also brings some impact offensively. In 2013, Chavez appeared in just 80 games. In his 254 plate appearances, he hit for a .281/.332/.478 triple-slash line with a 114 wRC+. That is a .810 OPS. Against right-handed pitching, Chavez is very good as he hit for a .279/.335/.492 slash line with a 118 wRC+ in 222 trips to the plate against righties.
This seems like a nice possibility for the Pirates. Being able to bring a .810 OPS off the bench is clearly an advantage that not every team has going for them. As long as the Pirates aren’t planning on using Chavez as the bigger half of the first base platoon with Gaby Sanchez then they should seriously make a run at him. Despite being a good hitter against right-handed pitching, relying on a 36 year old to be essentially an everyday player is a risky decision. There are many better first base options available for the Bucs, including James Loney. Some players thrive in smaller roles, and Chavez could be one of those players if the Pirates give him the chance.