In a surprising turn of events, the Mariners won’t be graced with a third straight year of Endy Chavez starting the season in Tacoma, followed by him getting called back up in time for the month of May. Instead, he decided to opt out right now, to try to catch onto a bench elsewhere.
On the one hand, yeah, this is probably a good thing. After all, with Weeks and Ruggiano figuring to get extensive playing time in platoons, and with Nelson Cruz getting his share of outfield appearances, it’s not like we’ve got all the room in the world for someone in Chavez who probably isn’t all that good. He’s not really a threat on the basepaths; he’s not really all that great in the field; he can’t take a walk to save his life; he’s got no power. In short, he’s probably best suited to be an emergency fill-in, and even then, you’d hope you could do better.
The hard truth is: if we happen to lose so many players to injury that we have to pull from the minors just to field a roster, then I have to imagine James Jones is the first guy called up. He’s young, he’s a whiz on the basepaths (so, he’s the ideal pinch runner late in games), he’s a solid defensive corner outfielder (and a so-so centerfielder in a pinch), he can hit to all fields (albeit, predominantly singles) and he’s got upside (at least, more upside than Chavez).
The Linus Van Pelt side of me who needs that security blanket is disappointed to see Endy Chavez go. But, the more rational side of me knows we’re better off this way. Whatever other part of me that’s left over questions just why in the hell would Chavez opt to leave the Mariners NOW, when we’re finally GOOD?! I get that a professional likes to get that playing time in – and there HAS to be a desperate team out there looking for outfield depth. But, at this point, if I’m Endy Chavez, I think I’m doing my best to try to get that ring. Unless the Washington Nationals have expressed an interest that I’ve yet to hear about, seems to me you could do a lot worse than the 2015 Seattle Mariners.
But, who knows? Maybe Chavez will be back. Maybe he’ll get picked up by another team, start out in the minors like he does, and opt out after a month. Or, maybe he’ll stink and get cut. For some reason, I’m not totally convinced we’ve seen the last of Endy Chavez.