A little less than five months ago, the Red Sox traded infielder Michael Chavis to the Pirates in exchange for left-handed reliever.
To that point in the 2021 season, the Sox had used Chavis sparingly after not including him on their Opening Day roster. Across five stints with Boston, the 26-year-old batted an underwhelming .190/.207/.342 with four doubles, one triple, two home runs, six RBIs, 12 runs scored, one stolen base, one walk, and 32 strikeouts over 31 total games spanning 82 plate appearances.
Upon arriving in Pittsburgh in late July, Chavis assigned to the Pirates’ Triple-A affiliate in Indianapolis, and it took him a little more than three weeks for him to make his way back to the big-leagues.
On August 23, the Pirates recalled Chavis from Triple-A Indianapolis and he made his National League debut that very same day against the Diamondbacks at PNC Park while batting seventh and starting at second base.
For the next week or so, Chavis was a regular in Pittsburgh’s lineup and even made his first career start in right field against the Cardinals on Aug. 28. In the third inning of that contest, however, the Georgia native suffered a right elbow strain while sprawling out for a sharply-hit fly ball off the bat of Edmundo Sosa.
Chavis was removed from the game at the beginning of the fifth inning and was subsequently placed on the 10-day injured list because of it the following day. He was sidelined for more than two weeks before being sent out on a rehab assignment with Indianapolis on September 16 and later returning to the Pirates on Sept. 28.
In the process of starting four of Pittsburgh’s final six games, Chavis ended an eventful year on a high note. All told, the right-handed hitter slashed a scorching .357/.357/.500 to go along with three doubles, one homer, five RBIs, four runs scored, zero walks, and 10 strikeouts across 12 games (42 plate appearances) in his debut with the Pirates.
Chavis, who does not turn 27 until next August, is heading into his final year of pre-arbitration eligibility in 2022, meaning he remains under club control for at least the next four seasons.
When the Red Sox originally selected Chavis in the first round of the 2014 amateur draft, they did so while Ben Cherington was still heading the team’s baseball operations department. Cherington, of course, now serves as general manager of the Pirates, so there is a level of familiarity there.
In his time with the Red Sox, Chavis logged time at every infield position besides shortstop and made 12 appearances in left field during the compressed 2020 campaign. He briefly added right field to his repertoire this past season, making it seem as though the Pirates value his defensive versatility.
While Chavis will likely get the opportunity to compete for a utility tole on Pittsburgh’s Opening Day roster next spring, there are still some areas of his game he needs to improve on, such as faring better against right-handed pitchers (.547 OPS this year) or better handling off-speed and breaking pitches.
To that end, Chavis does have one minor-league option year remaining, so the Pirates could shuttle him between Indianapolis and Pittsburgh next season if they so choose.
(Picture of Michael Chavis: Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)