The Orioles have officially signed left handed hitting OF Endy Chavez, according to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun. The deal is for one year, $1.5MM, with another $500K of incentives possible.
Chavez, 33, has a career batting line of .274/.313/.373 with a .297 BABIP and .302 wOBA in 10 seasons with the Royals, Expos/Nationals, Phillies, Mets, Mariners, and Rangers. He spent the 2011 season with the Rangers, posting a .301/.323/.426 batting line with a .321 BABIP and a .325 wOBA.
Chavez will most likely act as the Orioles 4th OF and potential platoon partner in LF with Nolan Reimold. This signing also makes the Orioles 40-man roster full.
Don’s Thoughts: The Orioles added a good clubhouse guy that could provide a respected veteran voice for 2012.
Endy Chavez can do all of the small ball things rather well. He does not have the burning speed of his youth, but does have plenty of gas left in the tank to play centerfield in a pinch. His ability to play all three outfield positions gives the Orioles decent versatility. Chavez can bring his glove and range off the bench and it is a welcome addition to any clubhouse.
He loves the ball high at the plate and has always chased pitches up in the zone throughout his entire career. Surprising enough, his bat speed is still good enough to turn on the fastball and he has always been intriguing because he does not fear the deuce. He has no problem bunting or moving runners, and you still have to take him seriously at the plate because he still displays gap power, with the occasional pop. I was rather surprised to see his ability to be a productive hitter off the bench with the Rangers and this is something that was a needed with the Orioles.
He is not being asked to assume an everyday player role. He will provide late inning insurance on the base paths, out in the field, and spell guys for 2 to 3 games a week. His versatility at the plate at least bolsters the bench and provides insurance over players that may need more seasoning in the minors.