Tuesday, the prognosis came back for Eric Chavez, next time he blows out his back, it’s spinal fusion surgery, which will cost him his career.
Chavez, who played in 121 games since 2007, was the can’t miss prospect the A’s decided to keep and build their team around after letting go or trading several of the stars who put the Oakland Athletics franchise on the map in the 2000’s. Players such as Jason Giambi, Miguel Tejada, Johnny Damon, Jermaine Dye, Mark Mulder, Tim Hudson, Barry Zito were victims to budget cuts and pawned out to get back some young stud prospects. Yet, with Chavez, A’s GM Billy Beane, saw the future of his franchise and would stick with the good looking, well liked and respected, slick fielding third basemen, who still had high upside.
And now, several years after many of those talented position players left the A’s, it has become evident that Billy Beane picked the wrong one to keep long term.
Chavez, who was as skilled a fielder as there was in the league for much of his career, had legitimate MVP type seasons with the bat from ’01-’04 and a strong season in ’05 (that’s ages 23 to 27). Chavez amounted 151 Home runs and nearly 500 RBI’s in that span. Yet in ’06, Chavez only hit .241 despite 22 homeruns- and then suddenly, the prime of Eric Chavez’s career was over before it had the chance to begin. Since the end of the ’06 season- the A’s, who were competitive for so many years leading up to then, haven’t been back to the playoffs.
It’s now evident that if Oakland had to keep one of the position players over the course of the 2000’s, the one Eric Chavez wasn’t the one, and now Chavez is suddenly on the brink of retirement.
Sure you can argue over the mess Giambi and Tejada have caused for their teams, but those guys have still been productive (up until this season for Giambi). Chavez has caught the injury bug too frequently over the course of the past three seasons, and now the A’s foundation is in need of a new back.