Eric Chavez

Eric Cesar Chavez (born December 7, 1977) is an American professional baseball coach and former third baseman. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Oakland Athletics (1998–2010), New York Yankees (2011–2012), and Arizona Diamondbacks (2013–2014). During his playing career, Chavez won six Gold Glove Awards (20012006) and a Silver Slugger Award (2002). Chavez served hitting coach for the New York Mets in 2022 and presently is in the position of bench coach.

Eric Chavez
Chavez with the Mets in 2022
New York Mets – No. 51
Third baseman / Hitting coach
Born: (1977-12-07) December 7, 1977
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Batted: Left
Threw: Right
MLB debut
September 8, 1998, for the Oakland Athletics
Last MLB appearance
June 8, 2014, for the Arizona Diamondbacks
MLB statistics
Batting average.268
Home runs260
Runs batted in902
As player
As coach
Career highlights and awards

Early life

Chavez was the second of four children born to Cesar and Ruby Chavez in Los Angeles, California.[1] Cesar, who was born in Mexico,[2] was a custodian at an elementary school and Ruby worked at Rancho Bernardo High School.[1] Chavez was baptized Catholic but his mother converted to Protestantism when he was eight or nine years old.[3] Although all four of Chavez's grandparents were from Mexico, he did not learn to speak Spanish.[2]

Chavez was an early childhood friend as well as a high school teammate of Eric Munson at Mt. Carmel High School in San Diego. They were among only ten players named to the USA Today All-USA high school baseball team.[1] Chavez was also named to the ABCA/Rawlings High School All-America Second Team.[4]

Professional career

Minor leagues

Chavez's high school success was such that in the 1996 Major League Baseball draft, he was selected by the Oakland Athletics in the first round as the tenth pick.[5] Chavez eventually chose a professional baseball career over a full scholarship at the University of Southern California (USC), signing with the Athletics on August 27, 1996.[5] His time in the minor leagues was relatively short, lasting just under two seasons. He spent the 1997 season playing for the Visalia Oaks, the Single-A team in the Athletics' farm system.[6] He played 134 games, all at third base, and hit .271 with 18 home runs and 100 RBI.[6]

Before the start of the 1998 season, Chavez was promoted to the Double-A Huntsville Stars.[6] After 88 games, he had a batting average of .328, 28 home runs, 86 RBIs, 12 stolen bases, and a triple.[5] His efforts caused him to be promoted to the Edmonton Trappers, where in 47 games he hit 11 home runs and had a .325 batting average.[6] When Edmonton's season finished up on September 8, 1998, he was called up to the major leagues.[7] He finished his minor league career by receiving both the Baseball America Minor League Player of the Year Award and the Topps Minor League Player of the Year Award.[7]

Oakland Athletics

Chavez with the Athletics in 2005

He made his major league debut on September 8, 1998, in a game against the Baltimore Orioles, where he came in as a pinch hitter for Mike Blowers and struck out in his only at bat.[7] He finished the 1998 season having played in 16 games, and ending with a .311 batting average, as well as a triple.[5]

In the 27 games of September and October in 2001, Chavez hit ten home runs with 31 RBIs, a .379 batting average and a .738 slugging percentage resulting in him being named the American League Player of the Month for the only time in his career.

Chavez won six consecutive Rawlings Gold Glove Awards from 2001 to 2006. In 2004, the Athletics signed him to a six-year, $66 million contract extension; it was the largest contract guarantee made by the Athletics.[8] As of December 2022, the contract (equivalent to $94.7 million in 2021) remains the largest in franchise history.[9]

Between 20022005, his batting average remained consistent, hitting in the .270–.280 range. His home runs hit remained steady, hitting 29 in 2003 and 2004, and 27 in 2005. However, his offense production dropped in 2006, with his batting average dropping to .241, despite hitting 22 home runs. This slump continued into 2007, hitting .240 and 15 home runs.[10]

Through his first ten years with the A's, Chavez played 1256 games and batted .269. He had 227 home runs and 762 RBIs. Chavez batted .250 and slugged .445 in April and in May combined, but batted .294 and slugged .544 in June, July and August, continuing a constant theme in the Oakland A's organization in that they are a "second half" team.

He started the 2008 season on the disabled list, due to back pain. He was activated from the disabled list on May 29. On July 2, he was placed on the 15-day disabled list again with right shoulder inflammation. On June 14, 2009, Chavez was placed on the disabled list once again due to back pain, this time out for the season.

Chavez became a free agent at the conclusion of the 2010 season when the Oakland A's declined a club option to keep him on the roster for the 2011 season.[11] He had the longest continuous tenure as an Athletic, at 13 years, and second overall total behind Rickey Henderson's 14 years.

New York Yankees

Chavez playing for the New York Yankees

On February 4, 2011, Chavez agreed to a minor league contract with the New York Yankees with an invitation to spring training for the 2011 season.[12] The major league team purchased his contract on March 28, 2011.[13] On May 5, Chavez broke a bone in his left foot while rounding second base in a game against the Detroit Tigers.[14] He returned from the disabled list on July 26, and batted 8th for the Yankees against the Seattle Mariners. On August 3, Chavez hit his first home run as a Yankee, a two-run shot to right field against the Chicago White Sox.

On February 27, 2012, Chavez re-signed with the Yankees for one season. The contract guaranteed Chavez a salary of $900,000, with an additional $3.05 million in incentives based on plate appearances.[15] Chavez suffered a minor concussion when diving for a ground ball during a game on May 2, 2012. He left the game and was placed on the seven-day disabled list for concussions.[16] He returned to action on May 11. Chavez finished the 2012 season with 16 home runs in 113 games played. It was his highest total in both categories since 2006.

Arizona Diamondbacks

Chavez agreed to a one-year contract worth $3 million with the Arizona Diamondbacks for the 2013 season.[17] On June 1, 2013, Chavez was placed on the 15-day disabled list due to a minor right oblique tear. On December 19, 2013, Chavez re-signed with the Diamondbacks for $3.5 million.[18] Chavez retired on July 30, 2014.[19]

Post-playing career

On February 26, 2015, Chavez was hired as a part-time color analyst for Oakland A's telecasts on Comcast SportsNet California. At the time, USA Today reported that Chavez would team with play-by-play announcer Glen Kuiper to call 20 games during the 2015 season, and would also serve as a pre-game and post-game studio analyst for the channel.[20]

Chavez served as a special assistant to Yankees executives Brian Cashman and Billy Eppler during the 2015 season.[21] He was instrumental in scouting Didi Gregorius, his former teammate in Arizona, for the Yankees.[22][23] When Eppler became the general manager of the Los Angeles Angels after the 2015 season, he hired Chavez as a special assistant.[24] On August 5, 2018, the Salt Lake Bees announced that Chavez would replace Keith Johnson, who was promoted to the coaching staff of the Angels.[25]

On December 22, 2021, the Yankees announced they had hired Chavez as an assistant hitting coach.[26] On January 6, 2022, however, the New York Mets hired Chavez away from the Yankees and named him their hitting coach.[27] After the 2022 season, the Mets moved Chavez from hitting coach to bench coach, and Jeremy Barnes took over as hitting coach.[28]

See also


  1. Bott, Paula (May 23, 1999). "Two for The Show". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Archived from the original on September 3, 2017. Retrieved November 28, 2017.
  2. Slusser, Susan (February 14, 2006). "Chavez may play for Mexico in WBC". SFGate. Retrieved November 28, 2017.
  3. Slusser, Susan (August 31, 2004). "Changed man Chavez takes it on faith now". SFGate. Retrieved November 28, 2017.
  4. "1996 ABCA/Rawlings High School All-America Teams". American Baseball Coaches Association. Retrieved January 7, 2022.
  5. "Eric Chavez statistics –". Retrieved October 28, 2007.
  6. "Eric Chavez Statistics – the Baseball Cube". Archived from the original on September 29, 2007. Retrieved October 29, 2007.
  7. "Eric Chavez : 1998 Career Highlights". Retrieved November 4, 2007.
  8. "A's sign Chavez to six-year, $66M extension". March 18, 2004. Retrieved December 25, 2021.
  9. Dierkes, Tim (December 25, 2022). "Largest Contract In Franchise History For Each MLB Team". MLB Trade Rumors. Retrieved January 11, 2023.
  10. Eric Chavez's Player Stats
  11. Oakland A's buy out contract of Eric Chavez Mercury News
  12. Yankees sign Eric Chavez and Ronnie Belliard to minor league contracts NBC News
  13. Feliciano expects to be out 2 weeks Sports Illustrated
  14. "Yankees' Eric Chavez breaks bone in left foot". Retrieved November 17, 2021.
  15. "Yankees Re-Sign Infielder Eric Chavez – News". Retrieved January 12, 2014.
  16. "Eric Chavez placed on 7-day concussion DL by New York Yankees – ESPN New York". Associated Press. May 4, 2012. Retrieved May 25, 2012.
  17. "Diamondbacks, infielder Eric Chavez finalize deal". The Sacramento Bee. December 8, 2012. Retrieved December 9, 2012.
  18. Axisa, Mike (December 18, 2013). "D-Backs agree to re-sign Eric Chavez". Retrieved November 17, 2021.
  19. Gleeman, Aaron (July 30, 2014). "Eric Chavez announces retirement". Retrieved July 30, 2014.
  20. "Former A's 3B Eric Chavez joins Oakland's broadcast crew". USA Today. Associated Press. February 26, 2015. Retrieved March 1, 2015.
  21. "Yankees re-sign Eric Chavez ... as scout". Retrieved December 25, 2021.
  22. "Yankees' Eric Chavez excited for scouting job as spring training nears". Retrieved December 25, 2021.
  23. Davidoff, Ken (July 20, 2015). "Didi Gregorius has quietly shoved aside the ghost of Derek Jeter". Retrieved December 25, 2021.
  24. DiGiovanna, Mike (October 27, 2015). "Former third baseman Eric Chavez hired as special assistant to Angels GM Billy Eppler". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 23, 2016.
  25. Salt, The (August 5, 2018). "Bees manager Keith Johnson promoted to Angels' coaching staff; Eric Chavez will replace him in Salt Lake". Retrieved December 25, 2021.
  26. "Yankees' Aaron Boone explains Eric Chavez hire | 'Swiss Army knife'". December 22, 2021. Retrieved December 25, 2021.
  27. DiComo, Anthony (January 6, 2022). "Source: Chavez tabbed as Mets hitting coach". Major League Baseball. Retrieved January 6, 2022.
  28. Heyman, Jon (November 28, 2022). "Mets promote Eric Chavez to bench coach amid several changes to staff". New York Post.
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