Did I just get out of a time machine because the ‘Blast From The Past’ signings keep happening for the Yankees. Last night, the Yankees agreed to minor league deals with Eric Chavez and Ronnie Belliard. Again, these are not-guaranteed roster invites so these two veterans will compete with Ramiro Pena and Eduardo Nunez for two backup infield roles. Pena and Nunez can both play shortstop so they have a slight edge over the vets.
Eric Chavez is no longer the smooth fielding, power-hitting stud from the A’s. The 33-year-old has only played in 64 games over the past three seasons. He has dealt with back, elbow, and shoulder injuries. Chavez’s last big season came all the way back in 2005 when he hit 27 home runs and drove in 101 runs. The Yankees basically assume zero risk by inviting Chavez to camp. Chavez will earn $825,000 if he makes the team as a backup corner infielder.
In addition to Chavez, the Yankees invited Ronnie Belliard to camp. Last season, the 35-year-old infielder posted a line of .216/.295/.327 with two homers in 185 plate appearances. Alike Chavez, if Belliard makes varsity, he’ll earn $825,000. Belliard spent time at first, second, and third base last season for the Dodgers.
The Yankees assume virtually no risk by inviting these players to camp. If they don’t perform well, the team will just cut ties and move forward. Same goes for the pitchers. A little competition never hurt anyone.
If this was 2003, the Yankees would have the most fearsome team in the history of baseball.