The Boston Red Sox don’t seem to have room for Michael Chavis
Michael Chavis put himself on the map with an impressive rookie performance in 2019. The Ice Horse quickly established himself as a fan favorite on his way to bashing 18 homers in 95 games and he appeared to be cementing his place among the core of the Boston Red Sox roster. Flash forward to the present and Chavis no longer seems to have a future on this team.
His stock plummeted during a dismal 2020 season when Chavis hit a meager .212 with only five home runs in 42 games. His walk rate dipped from 8.1% to 5.1% while his strikeout rate remained astronomically high at 31.6% last season.
Chavis is doing everything he can to earn himself back into the team’s good graces, hitting a blistering .400 with a 1.337 OPS and two home runs in seven games this spring. He worked hard over the winter to improve his athleticism and sharpen his mental skills. It shows with his strong start in training camp but it ultimately might not matter when it comes to opening the season in the majors.
The Red Sox don’t have a clear role for Chavis and he knows it, according to NBC Sports Boston’s John Tomase.
"“I’m not even sure if I have a place on the team,” Chavis admitted Wednesday. “That’s what I’m trying to earn. I’m not ashamed to say that, I’m not worried about it.”"
Chavis has spent the majority of his time in the majors sharing first base with the left-handed Mitch Moreland while also learning how to play second base when the Red Sox lacked options at the position. Bobby Dalbec has since taken over as the primary first baseman and Chavis isn’t an ideal platoon partner since they are both right-handed.
The Red Sox experimented with using him in left field last season but that option is no longer on the table with manager Alex Cora preferring that Chavis concentrate on his swing and infield defense rather than learning a new position.
Chavis is a man without a position who doesn’t fit in on a team loaded with utility players.
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Also working against him is that Chavis has minor league options remaining while some players he’s competing against for a roster spot do not. No matter how well he produces in spring training, Chavis could be a roster casualty based on front office politics rather than what happens on the field.
The Red Sox have too many other options that they seem to be prioritizing over Chavis. With the organization’s top two prospects in Jeter Downs and Triston Casas capable of filling the same positions he does, the long-term future isn’t any clearer for Chavis. If he’s going to have a lengthy career as an everyday player, it’s probably going to have to come elsewhere.
Barring a trade this month, Chavis is almost certainly ticketed for Triple-A Worcester to begin the season and that’s arguably the best path for him. He has enticing power potential but needs to drastically cut down on the strikeouts in order to find any semblance of consistency at the plate. Another stint in the minors allows him to work on his plate discipline without the constant pressure of losing his spot in the lineup.
Getting his bat back on track would go a long way toward restoring his trade value. Chavis would suddenly become far more appealing to potential suitors if he was thriving in Triple-A rather than decorating the bench in Boston.
Chavis knows his fate is out of his hands and he seems content with the work he’s putting in to improve. If a path to playing time opens up, either with the Red Sox or by landing with another franchise, he’ll be ready to contribute.