Eric Chavez: A Sad But True Story

Jason LempertCorrespondent IAugust 27, 2009

OAKLAND, CA - APRIL 12:  Eric Chavez #3 of the Oakland Athletics waits in the field against the Seattle Mariners during a Major League Baseball game on April 12, 2009 at the Oakland Coliseum in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

Here is a sad story. It's sad but, true.

It's about a guy who was drafted in the first round (10th overall) by the Oakland A's in the 1996 amateur draft as a 20-year-old kid.  He tore through the Minor Leagues and debuted with the A's two seasons later in 1998.

His name is Eric Chavez, and his story is one of the more disheartening stories in baseball. From 2000-2006 he amassed 199 home runs and more than 600 RBI. He also won six consecutive Gold Glove awards from 2001-2006 at third base.

But since 2007, he has only 17 homers in 121 games due to a series of back injuries. He's only appeared in eight games this season, and was put on the 15-day Disabled List on May 2.

Two weeks later, he was transferred to the 60-day DL and is now out for the season. This will be the first time in his 12-year career that he did not record a home run since his cup-of-coffee in his debut season.

He still has hopes of playing in 2010, but he will be hard pressed to find a suitable team. His days as a slick-fielding third baseman are all but over, which makes him either a first baseman or a DH.

But if all of these back surgeries has any drastic effects on his power numbers, there won't be too many teams willing to dish out cash to an injury-proned player no longer capable of mashing 20-30 homers a year.

It truly is a sad ending to what seemed like such a happy story. Chavez's career got off to such a roaring start, he looked like a perennial MVP candidate, and possible Hall of Famer at some points. But in a game of luck, there's always the chance of having the misfortune of perpetual hospital bed visits. Eric Chavez has learned this the hard way.