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Angel Chavez has moved around quite a bit this year. Originally signed as an undrafted free agent by the San Francisco Giants, Chavez was placed on waivers in April to clear room on the Giants 40-man roster. The Phillies then claimed Chavez, only to part with him just prior to the waiver trade deadline to complete the Jeff Conine trade.
Chavez is best known for his slick glovework at shortstop. Although he has seen some time at second base; his range, instincts and arm are all plus tools at shortstop.
Unfortunately, the same can not be said about his bat. Chavez began the season at Philadelphia's AA affiliate in Reading. In over 200 at bats, he hit a disappointing .255/.300/.364. Bumped up to the AAA affiliate in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Chavez has enjoyed more success over his last 200 at bats. There, he has hit .275/.318/.465, increasing his contact rate as well as his power output. At 25 years old, however, further improvement is likely to be marginal, at best.
Instead, Chavez will have to hold on to all of his gains in AAA and still have to make the majors on the basis of his glove. Unfortunately, that seems like an unlikely possibility on the Orioles. The primary roadblock is the new generation's ironman shortstop, Miguel Tejada, who has yet to take a game off as an Oriole. Furthermore, Chavez is likely behind fan favorite Brandon Fahey on the depth chart if there ever is a cause to start a backup shortstop. Arguably, Chavez does not even represent a substantial upgrade on long-time Orioles farmhand Ed Rogers, who is himself a slick-fielding shortstop with poor on-base skills.
In the end, it's hard not to be disappoined with what the Orioles received in return for Jeff Conine. Chavez is unlikely to get significant time in the majors and will be near the top of the list of players to come off the 40-man roster as space is needed in the off-season. It's not that Chavez is useless on a major league roster as much as he has no apparent role with the Orioles. In fact, at this point, it is obvious that the Orioles were merely looking to dump the salary that Jeff Conine's nearly vested option for 2007 represented. Nevertheless, it would make much more sense for the Orioles to have taken a chance on a live arm in order to help shake up their muddled bullpen situation.
Michael Hollman is the Senior Writer for Inside The Warehouse and can be reached via email at Publisher@InsideTheWarehouse.com.