Eric Chavez: A Leader or a Follower?

Eric Chavez season ended with another disappointing loss in the Playoffs in 2003. Chavez was dreadful in the postseason getting only one hit in 22 Post-season at bats. That being said, the A's are so high on Chavez they have spent the past two weeks of Spring Training hoping to sign him to a long-term deal. Chavez has all the natural talent in the world he has the Gold Gloves to prove his athleticism but is he a Savior for an A's team that has lost key components last few years?

Eric Chavez is nothing but consistent over the last three years his numbers have not moved much at all, he has racked up the Gold Gloves at the same consistent pace, winning another one in 2003. With the rumblings that the A's are finally ready to sign one of their young players to a long term contract the question remains is Eric Chavez the one A's should invest their money in, he has reportedly been offered a 5 Year deal worth close to 55 Million dollars. Chavez has continued to be ineffective against left handed pitching hitting a miserable .229 over the last three years. He managed to take a step back in 2003 when he hit only .220 against southpaws. His lack of power against lefties is also a concern; teams around the league know that Chavez is not the same against lefties; in fact he is somewhat of a liability against LHP in the A's lineup. His defense cannot be questioned, he has shown tremendous improvement every year, and his range is terrific. He makes all the open foul space at the Coliseum look like a small playground.

Chavez's agent former A's starter Dave Stewart has said if the A's are unable to sign his client before the start of the season they will most likely lose him to free agency. A's brass does not want this to happen they have all along maintained that Eric Chavez was one player they would like the keep with the A's past his current contract. After seeing fan favorite Miguel Tejada sign with the O's this past off-season it is very important for the A's to sign Chavez to multi-year deal.

Chavez also has not portrayed himself as a leader of the team, he is very laid back and that can often be mistaken for lackadaisically effort on the field but with Tim Hudson signed through 2005, the A's don't need Chavez to be the vocal leader in the clubhouse like Miguel Tejada used to be, they just need him to elevate his game into superstardom.

Eric Chavez has a chance to be an all time great for the A's but he must learn to be consistent at the plate. He must improve against the lefties or at least put the ball in play against them more often. Chavez already has been compared to Brooks Robinson at third once his offense becomes more consistent the sky is the ceiling for him, since he is only 26 years old.

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