Since it's been such a hot topic on AN recently, I figured I'd offer my take on the enigmatic Eric Chavez.
An interesting development will likely happen this upcoming offseason. Billy Beane will likely chase a big free agent bat to help balance this offense. A Brian Giles or Paul Konerko or some other free agent could really make for a fascinating 2006 from one perspective.
Eric Chavez will once again have someone around him who can regularly hit the ball out of the yard. This year it was supposed to be Durazo, and we know how that went. Last season, he had Durazo and Dye. In 2001, he had Giambi and Tejada. In 2002, he had an MVP in Tejada.
Talking with people who are in and around the A's all the time, most feel like Chavez's bad at-bats and swings stay with him. He has shoulders that have a tendency of sagging after failing because he so badly wants to carry the team. It isn't apathy you see from him, but the ABs that he has stay with him and linger, carrying over to the next time he steps up to the plate. Chavez realizes the situation here in Oakland. He's the veteran now. He's the biggest bat on the team and he's the one that is supposed to carry the A's. When he doesn't come through, the team often struggles to score runs. And realistically, Chavy is the only player on the team that truly scares other teams.
Chavez doesn't have a Ramirez to his Ortiz, a Young to his Teixeira, a Sheffield to his A-Rod or an Anderson to his Guerrero. I'm not, repeat NOT saying that Chavez is in those player's league yet, but I think we'll see a different player in 2006 when he has another feared bat in the lineup and the entire offense doesn't live and die with him.
Chavez still has two weeks to put the team on his back in 2005, but if Crosby can get healthy for 2006 (at least 130 games played) and Beane can add another big bat I believe the monkey will be off his back...and we'll see whether or not he's the player that many of us have been dreaming of since he became the $66 million man. Or he'll continue to be the one that flails aimlessly at Mike Timlin pitches.