I feel guilty for it. It's not something I'm proud of. It probably represents the worst part(s) of my personality. But I'll cop to it.
Maybe Chavez's 3-for-5 day, highlighted by a pair of doubles, is a fluke, but it comes on the heels of numerous reports this spring that Chavez finally feels healthy, and that scouts are impressed by how he looks both physically and at the plate.
This is a feel-good story, right? Why am I rooting against this guy?
Here's my case:
*The A's are paying him $3M in buyout money this year. That's on top of the ~$80Mish they had already paid him. He contributed virtually nothing for the A's since the end of the 2006 season, yet he was paid ~$50M during that time.
*Now that he is finally healthy, he is a bargain...and who is he a bargain for? The Yankees, a team with a $205M payroll and an amazing offense. Meanwhile the A's have their usual meager offense and payroll, and would love to have a great contributor at $1.5M.
*His myriad of injuries, while obviously not his fault, decimated the A's for the past several years. Chavez averaged 5 WAR per season from 2001-2004, from age 23-26. Then he entered his theoretical peak and his health and performance fell off a cliff.
*I really like Billy Beane. I think he has a great process and hasn't been rewarded with great results. This extension should have ended up being a feather in Beane's cap. He locked up a great hitting, steroid-free, outstanding defender at a premium defensive position for six years of his prime at below-FA prices. Eric Chavez should've become a guy who OPS'ed between .875-.925 in his mid-to-late 20's, a guy who averaged 6-7 WAR a year in his prime. He should've been Longoria. Instead, critics can point to this deal and say, "It should've been Tejada. It was a mistake," in the same way they can criticize him for making the playoffs on a small budget but never winning the World Series. But I like his process and I can rationalize his moves, and that's part of why I enjoy rooting for this team. I just want him to get lucky for once, partially so that results-oriented people come to appreciate him more, too. And Chavez's extension and ensuing struggles are a great example of Beane having a good process and not getting good results.
I watched Eric Chavez fail too many times over the last four years for my team; I can't root for him to finally do well for someone else.
Maybe that's not much of a case to root against a player. But I think it's enough for me. How about you?