Former Red Sox infielder Michael Chavis has agreed to terms on a minor-league contract with the Nationals, according to Andrew Golden of The Washington Post.
Chavis, 27, will earn $1 million if he makes Washington’s big-league roster and will have the chance to earn an additional $500,000 in incentives, per Golden. If he is not in the majors by June 1, Chavis can exercise an opt-out clause that would allow him to become a free agent again.
A former first-round draft pick of the Red Sox out of Sprayberry High School (Marietta, Ga.) in 2014, Chavis established himself as one of the top prospects in Boston’s farm system before debuting for the club in April 2019. He batted .254/.322/.444 with 18 home runs and 58 RBIs over 95 games (382 plate appearances) as a rookie but has been unable to replicate that same sort of power production since then.
After striking out in more than 31 percent of his plate appearances during the COVID-shortened 2020 campaign, Chavis failed to make Boston’s Opening Day roster out of spring training in 2021 and instead began the year at the club’s alternate training site. He was called up for the first time in early April and slashed just .190/.207/.342 with two home runs and six RBIs across 31 games before being dealt to the Pirates in exchange for left-handed reliever Austin Davis ahead of the 2021 trade deadline and reuniting with former Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington.
Chavis did not make his Pirates debut until late August and was limited to just 12 games due to a right elbow strain that kept him sidelined for nearly month. In those 12 games, however, the right-handed hitter went 15-for-42 (.357) at the plate with three doubles, one home run, and five runs driven in.
While he impressed in that brief sample size, Chavis’ first full season in Pittsburgh did not go according to plan. In a career-high 129 games played last year, Chavis produced a .229/.265/.389 slash line to go along with 16 doubles, three triples, 14 homers, 49 RBIs, 39 runs scored, one stolen base, 19 walks, and 126 strikeouts over 426 plate appearances. He was designated for assignment at the end of September and elected free agency after clearing waivers.
Chavis, who does not turn 28 until next August, is now with his fourth professional organization. The 5-foot-10, 190-pounder has one minor-league option year remaining and has past experience at every defensive position besides pitcher, catcher, shortstop, and center field.
For his major-league career, Chavis is a lifetime .229/.265/.389 hitter with 40 home runs and 137 RBIs in 309 total games between the Red Sox and Pirates. In parts of three minor-league seasons at the Triple-A level, Chavis has hit .268/.336/.553 with 23 home runs and 55 RBIs over 78 games from 2018-2019 and 2021.
Chavis becomes the latest former Red Sox prospect to join the Nationals organization in some capacity this offseason. Last month, right-hander Thad Ward was taken by Washington in the major-league phase of the Rule 5 Draft while fellow infielder Jeter Downs was claimed off waivers after being designated for assignment by Boston on December 15.