Diamondbacks sign Eric Chavez, Wil Nieves- Bergesen departs to Japan

By Michael Jenkins

Eric Chavez is going to be looked at to provide some innings at the corner positions for the Diamondbacks this season.  Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Diamondbacks stayed busy at the 2012 Winter Meetings inking corner infielder Eric Chavez and catcher Wil Nieves to one-year deals.

The 35 year-old Chavez agreed to a one-year, $3 million deal pending a physical according to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. He played last season in New York and put up impressive numbers in limited time with the Yankees. The left-handed slugger hit .281 with 16 home runs and 37 RBI’s in 113 games last season while being deployed at both first and third base. During his career, Chavez has provided stellar defense at the corner positions. Chavez is a six-time gold glove winner at third base in his 15-year major league career.

In his younger years, Chavez put together some stellar seasons while with the Oakland A’s. For a six year stretch between 2000-06, he hit 22 or more home runs a season for the Athletics. His career has been somewhat derailed by injuries in recent years (primarily back problems), but last season stayed healthy and produced during the regular season for the perennial American League powerhouse.

Chavez provides the D’Backs with a left-handed bat in the lineup with some pop. He looks to split time at third base with Chris Johnson and can provide spot duty at first base to spell Paul Goldschmidt. He also provides the organization with a designated hitter option during Interleague play.

Wil Nieves is going to be looked at to provide backup catching duties this season to Miguel Montero.  Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Hilderbrand-USA TODAY Sports

The D’Backs also re-signed catcher Wil Nieves to a one-year deal. Terms were not disclosed. The 35 year-old Nieves was not offered arbitration last week by the club as they felt he would command too much money, but the sides came together this week and came to a contract agreement. Nieves will spell Miguel Montero when Manager Kirk Gibson feels he needs a break.

Last season after signing with Arizona, Nieves hit. 306 in 16 appearances with the club, according to ESPN.com. He hit .301 with two home runs and eight RBI’s in 32 games last season (split between Colorado and Arizona).

For his career, Nieves is a .229 hitter in 314 games with six major league franchises (Arizona, San Diego, Milwaukee, Washington, Colorado, New York Yankees).

Bergesen leaves the team after only part of one season.

In other team news, relief pitcher Brad Bergesen was released on November 30th. After clearing waivers, Bergesen’s contract was sold to the Chunichi Dragons of the Central League in Japan. Bergesen departs Arizona after being acquired off of waivers last season from Baltimore. He recorded a 2-1 record in 19 relief appearances, posting a 3.64 ERA while with the Diamondbacks.

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