Red Sox infielder Michael Chavis is the odd-man-out in 2021
We’re just a little over two weeks into the 2021 regular season and the Red Sox are rolling. They’re coming off of an impressive 6-1 road trip and have a long homestand beginning tonight. Some may say it’s too early to begin looking toward the July 30th Trade Deadline but we all know Boston CBO Chaim Bloom is eyeing the summer date. As it stands right now, I only see one trade piece at the top of the board and that’s Michael Chavis.
The Ice Horse got promoted at the beginning of the 2019 season thanks to some roster headaches and quickly became a mainstay in the lineup. His love for hitting baseballs to the moon and gritty style of play made him a quick fan favorite with Red Sox Nation. However, injury issues, as well as a penchant for swinging at pitches he’ll never have a chance of hitting, have found him back in Worcester at the alternate training site.
He put up one hell of a fight in spring training but with the emergence of Bobby Dalbec at first base and Christian Arroyo at second base last year, his primary positions are taken up. He can also play third but nobody is moving Rafael Devers from his spot anytime soon. This offseason the Red Sox would also add Marwin Gonzalez a utilityman, Kiké Hernandez another utilityman, as well as Hunter Renfroe and Franchy Cordero who are both outfielders.
So, literally, in every position that Chavis has played for the Red Sox, he now finds himself low on the depth chart. Like I mentioned before, he put up one hell of a fight in spring training and it felt like a fight that went down to the final day, but the odds weren’t in his favor. He will be turning 26 just after the deadline so he has plenty of career years left ahead of him and the potential is off the charts. Chavis has shown an aptitude toward learning new positions in a hurry and will work tirelessly to get good at them.
His biggest setback, and we all know it, is the high heat. He’s like Kit Keller in ”A League of Their Own,” he likes the high ones. While he can send a high pitch to Mars if it’s within reason, he doesn’t quite have the restraint to lay off of the ones he has no chance at. If he can get with a hitting coach or even just a veteran that can finally get into his ear, he can become massively dangerous. It surprises me that with all the time he’s been around J.D. Martinez the big DH hasn’t been able to break him of the habit, but that’s life.
Do I want to see Chavis wearing another jersey? Absolutely not. But I also didn’t want to see Mookie Betts in LA, Andrew Benintendi in KC, or Jackie Bradley Jr in Milwaukee, but I don’t get asked about these decisions. At this point in his career with the guys that are ahead of him in the pecking order, I think it’s time for Bloom to shop his young infielder.
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We’ve seen the magic that Bloom can do when he’s wheeling and dealing and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him get a great return for an MLB-ready infielder with big power. If he was able to get five players in return for Benny Biceps, then he should be able to get some quality for Ice Horse. I think if the Red Sox had kept Chavis to one or two positions then he may not have had the setbacks that he ran into. Unfortunately, this club loves turning specialists into utility guys.
When they drafted Blake Swihart he was one of the team’s highest-rated prospects and then they started messing around with him and he suffered greatly for it. Chavis saw himself in a similar position as he was a strong corner infielder but got pushed to second, and eventually the outfield. Once the positions started getting tacked onto his resume they all suffered. Don’t get me wrong, he can get the job done, but he’s far better when he only needs to worry about one position.
Like I’ve said I absolutely want Michael Chavis with this team for the long haul, but it’s hard to see that happening right now. There are too many ahead of him on the depth chart that are just better than he is at what he does. He still has great value though thanks to that ability to learn on the fly as well as smash the ball. Add in his youth and Bloom should have no trouble getting a great return for the Ice Horse. If I’m checking my crystal ball, it says that Chavis will be wearing a different jersey for the second half of 2021.