Monday, February 2, 2009

Minor Moves

Brandon ChavesMatt Eddy reports the Rays have signed infielder Brandon Chaves and that Gabriel Martinez has signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Chaves, 29, was in the Pirates organization from 2000 to 2007 and played for the Akron Aeros (AA, Eastern League, Cleveland Indians) last year. In 247 AB's he put up a .198/.287/.255 line for the Aeros. He is versatile; his games played by position in 2008: SS 52, 2B 13, CF 4, 3B 4, LF 3.

Tony Lastoria had this to say about Chaves on May 16, 2008, at Indians Prospect Insider: "Akron infielder Brandon Chaves is a tall and lanky middle infielder at 6'3" 181 pounds who was drafted in the 10th round of the 2000 Draft out of the University of Hawaii-Hiloby by the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Indians signed him as a minor league free agent this offseason to fill a gap in the system in the middle infield and to date he is hitting .189 with 1 HR, 5 RBI and a .582 OPS. Prior to joining the Indians, Chaves spent eight years in the Pittsburgh organization reaching as high as Double-A Altoona and hit .237 with 16 HR, 276 RBI and 65 stolen bases in 770 career games.

Chaves, a native of Hilo, Hawaii, has limited upside to where he will probably never be a major league baseball player; however, even players with such a limited future can still be valuable to an organization. Since the Indians have so few options in the middle infield in the upper minors, they went out this past offseason and signed several minor league free agents to fill infield spots at Buffalo and Akron. Chaves was one of them, and he was signed with the idea that he could be a utility player at Akron playing third base and second base. Chaves has also been playing some outfield as injuries to outfielders Trevor Crowe and Stephen Head have left the Akron outfield thin at times and he has filled in as needed well."

Martinez, 25, put up a .276/.343/.450 line in 511 AB's for the Montgomery Biscuits in 2008. He was named a Southern League Mid-Season All-Star. He followed that up with a fine season in the Puerto Rican Winter League, going .279/.407/.514 in 111 AB's. Tampa Bay picked him in the 27th round of the 2001 draft.

Eddy also mentioned the previously reported signing of Jake Gautreau: "The 14th overall pick in 2001 as a lefty-swinging, pure-hitting third baseman from Tulane, Gautreau was mentioned in the same breath as Mark Teixeira among college hitters in that draft class. However, Gautreau never did reach the big leagues with the Padres, the team that drafted him—or anybody else for that matter. A switch to second base and medical problems, including bouts with ulcerative colitis and skin cancer, conspired against Gautreau, who now is 29 years old. After poor Triple-A seasons for Buffalo in ‘06 and New Orleans in ‘07, he redeemed himself with a solid year in the independent American Association, batting .282/.370/.454 for Fort Worth."

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