Could the Red Sox trade Michael Chavis this offseason?
It may seem like an incredibly vague question and possibly even a simple one, but it needs to be asked. The Red Sox will be buying like crazy this winter and they’ll most likely be looking to trade players they feel can fetch a solid return. Boston has a surplus of infielders at the moment which unfortunately means that one man may be on the outs, and that’s Michael Chavis.
The man they call the Ice Horse is one of several players that Boston has that can play in the infield and has even found himself playing plenty in left field as this season concluded. Going into 2020 it felt like Chavis was the lock for second base but he would soon lose playing time to Jose Peraza, Jonathan Arauz, and most recently Christian Arroyo.
Despite how he handled the position last year and in the early parts of this year, Arauz and Arroyo have both proven to be more potent on each side of the ball. He was also pegged to split time at first base with Bobby Dalbec but that didn’t last long as Dalbec proved to be the runaway favorite at the position.
So what did the Red Sox do? They moved him to the outfield! Once the trade deadline hit and Kevin Pillar was sent to Colorado there was a thinning in that area for Boston. Add in the season-ending injury to Andrew Benintendi and the Sox were in desperate need of some help. There were rumors going into this season that the team wanted to get Chavis some reps in the outfield to make him more versatile, and that rumor became a reality.
I don’t hate the idea of making guys as versatile as possible but you can only push it so far. We’ve seen it go well as in the case of Brock Holt, who became Boston’s MVP over the last few years. And we’ve seen it fail horribly, just ask Blake Swihart. He was drafted in the first round and was the organization’s top-ranked catching prospect before the team began to play him damn near everywhere but catcher.
If he loses his infield job and is kept in the outfield it won’t be a lock that Chavis has a job for 2021. The emergence of Yairo Munoz has spiced things up and Benintendi will make his return next year. Then there’s always the possibility that Chaim Bloom re-signs Jackie Bradley Jr. and the jobs will be drying up for The Chief. That brings me back to the question that started this entire thing, will Chavis be calling another city home?
I wouldn’t put it past the team that traded away Mookie Betts and with there being no set home for him going forward, he’s the most expendable young talent they have. Since his debut last season we’ve seen him play first, second, third, and left field. Could it be a move by the Red Sox to show how versatile he can be to raise his stock for the offseason? That’s the way that I’m leaning, but I say that with a heavy heart.
I was beyond excited when Chavis got the call-up in Tampa last year and he quickly added to that excitement with his power display. The Ice Horse quickly became known for launching home runs into the stratosphere. Unfortunately, with that, he often struck out and he got ice cold once the league’s pitchers figured out his weakness, the high fastball. He’s worked on that weakness and even though it was still a problem in 2020, he also showed that he could catch those fastballs and crush them.
Chavis has incredible talent and loads of potential, he also has a serious work ethic. He knows his shortcomings and doesn’t shy away from admitting to them. I wouldn’t be surprised if the second the window opens that Bloom’s phone starts ringing with inquiries about Chavis. I don’t think that Chaim would want to part with any of his top prospects or the guys that he called up this season, which leaves Michael as the odd man out.
When he had a defined role I would’ve said it was near impossible to trade him, but those days are long gone now. We’ve seen the Red Sox implement better players at every position that Chavis is known for, which doesn’t bode well for his future in Boston. It always makes sense to have a platoon guy on the bench but many of these other players can overlap and play the same positions. Once again, making Chavis expendable to the Red Sox.
If I was Chaim Bloom I’d either target a team that desperately needs someone that plays in the areas that Chavis does or package him with another body that he’s trying to get rid of to fetch a big return. When the team reports to Fort Myers next spring I just can’t see Michael Chavis as a member for the 40-man roster. I don’t know what kind of package that Bloom would put together but I truly feel that he’ll do what he does best and maximize his return on investment.