First off, and to head off the the inevitable 'He's done so much for us', 'it's a fan's job to support the team', 'you smell and your pants smell and your socks smell too' posts,let me just say that I write this as a protagonista - to say something unpalatable, that I don't entirely believe myself, to try and draw out thoughts on the matter at hand.
To wit - would a healthy Eric Chavez be a threat to the future success of the Oakland Athletics, and possible the world as we know it?
Here are my points:
1. If he's fit, Eric Chavez is going to play, until he cannot.
2. Like the stock I have in several failed startups, Eric Chavez is untradeable; no team is going to want to pick up a large salary and give away any sort of prospect for a player than could hurt himself lifting his carry on luggage out of the x-ray machine (given his familiarity with the x-ray machine over the last few years, there'd be a small element of tragicomedy to this).
3. Eric Chavez is not going to be a full time third base player, short stop, second baseman, or outfielder. He is, for the _most_ part, going to play at first base, or DH. If he's hitting well, he's going to monopolize the playing time there as long has his arms are connected.
4. If he's hale and healthy, Chavez could well have a good season and the A's will probably benefit this year. No-one is questioning his skill at doing things like hitting and / or catching a rapidly moving object.
5. Like a pair of thirteen year olds on a second date, the A's have a number of decisions looming in the first base area: Daric Barton, Sean Doolittle and some guy called Chris Carter could all end up competing for the position in the majors this time next year.
6. It's really, really important that the A's find out what they have in Daric Barton this year. He's 25 this summer (side note - how is someone born in 1985 25? surely that makes him 13, right? When did this happen?), and really has nothing left to prove in Sacramento.
7. If the A's decide that Chris Carter is unable to play OF, he's healthy, and still looks as good as he does now, the A's are going to want to throw him in next year. And they're going to want him to play 1B, and not DH, unless he's a total butcher, as they would, I'm sure, like to get some positional value out of him while he's young.
Old Awesome fatties cake botherers, in the Jack Cust mold, or healthcarephilliac ex-3B men who can't take the field are better suited for that role.
Conclusion - Eric Chavez prevents the A's from seeing if Daric Barton is actually as good as they thought he might be a few years back. He either sits around in Oakland avoiding bodies of water waiting for Chavez to get hurt, or he goes again to Sacramento, sharing at bats and defensive reps with the crowd there (so that'd hurt Carter and Doolittle, too). This means they'd not get much in the way of trade (who wants an ex top prospect who has flattered, for whatever reason, to deceive?), they'd not be able to give Chris Carter / Sean Doolittle the go-ahead for DH centered pie eating, gum chewing and tossing-balls-back training.
Anyway, yeah. Well done, Eric, on feeling good again, but did you have to do it this year?
Quick counter arguments - the A's should always play the best team available, as they should always try to win as many games as they can for the sake of ticket sales, if nothing else. Also, Eric Chavez is awesome. Also, you can't have too many good players (though, it'd be nice if you could get value for surplus?). Oh, and his beard is an example to us all, whereas Daric Barton's chin thing is a a sin against God and against all of His creation.
Now, you might well think that I'm just writing this because I'm bored, that it's not actually going to happen, that Chavezy will get hurt sooner rather than later, and that this is wasting time on theory. Well, you're probably right, but hey, I have to fill the hours till I die somehow, and besides, do you *really* see Billy Beane cutting Chavez early enough in the season to have any benefit for those who are to follow?