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How Are We Feeling About Chavez?

According to Eric Chavez,

"I'm about three months or so out from surgery right now, and rehab has been going really, really well," Chavez said. "I'm not going to start with baseball activities until January or late December, but talking to the doctors and trainers, we all pretty much feel like I'm ahead of schedule. So if I had to guess right now, there'd be almost no doubt; I fully expect to be ready for everything by the time Spring Training starts.

"And I fully expect to play third base."

From Mychael Urban's mailbag:

I've been hearing that Chavez won't be healthy next season. Are we kidding ourselves by hoping that he is?
-- Justin D., Stockton, Calif.

Have you heard this from anyone with a medical background and access to Chavez's most recent post-op evaluations? Have they been supervising his offseason workouts? If so, go ahead and believe them.

If not, all you have to go on is Chavez's word, and when is the last time Chavez flat-out lied or was overly optimistic about anything baseball related? The answer is never. He's as honest of an athlete about himself as you'll ever find, so when he says that rehab is going well and he expects to be healthy, I'm going to take him at his word.

Assuming that we all are going to take Chavez at his word, how do you see his impact on the team this season? I don't feel the same hopelessness about Chavez as I do about some other players. In certain cases, I think that the touted talent might be overrated, and I cringe every time someone says "They never lived up to their potential", because I really think the bar was set too high. I feel that Chavez did (and perhaps still does) have all the potential in the world, he did not live up to his only because of injuries. I think it's a shame that we didn't get a healthy Chavez, and I will always wonder what he could have been for the A's had he stayed healthy through the years.

Now that we are looking at him as a possible third baseman candidate this season, I don't know what to think. I have missed his defense in every way possible, and I agree with Urban (gasp!) when he says that Chavy tells it like it is; he isn't one to be overly optimistic. I have a small glimmer of excitement about Chavez that I haven't had in quite a while. I have missed him, and nothing would thrill me more than a successful season from him this year.