Jesse Chavez Rumors

Blue Jays Claim Jesse Chavez

The Blue Jays announced that they claimed right-hander Jesse Chavez off of waivers from the Royals (Twitter link). The Royals designated Chavez for assignment ten days ago when they claimed Aaron Laffey off of waivers.

The Royals acquired Chavez from the Braves in the summer 2010 trade that sent Kyle Farnsworth and Rick Ankiel to Atlanta. The right-hander had two stints with this year's Royals team, but spent most of the season at Triple-A Omaha, where he posted a 3.75 ERA with 8.4 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 in 57 2/3 innings of relief work. He provided the Pirates with a solid season of relief in 2009 and hasn't been able to replicate that success at the Major League level since.


Royals Claim Laffey, Designate Chavez

The Royals announced today they've claimed lefty Aaron Laffey off outright waivers from the Yankees and designated reliever Jesse Chavez to create a 40-man roster spot.

Laffey, 26, posted a 3.88 ERA, 5.1 K/9, 3.5 BB/9, 1.18 HR/9, and 48.1% groundball rate in 53 1/3 innings for the Mariners and Yankees this year.  He wasn't any better against left-handed hitters.  Earlier today, Joe Pawlikowski of River Ave. Blues wrote that Laffey was an expected victim of the Yankees' upcoming 40-man roster crunch.

Chavez, 28, had joined the Royals at last year's trade deadline in the Rick Ankiel/Kyle Farnsworth deal.  He struggled mightily in the Majors this year but had a 3.75 ERA, 8.4 K/9, 2.5 BB/9, and 0.9 HR/9 in 57 2/3 Triple-A innings.  Chavez averaged 94.5 miles per hour on his fastball the last few years, but that dropped a full two miles per hour this year in the Majors.


Braves Acquire Ankiel, Farnsworth

The Braves have acquired Rick Ankiel and Kyle Farnsworth from the Royals in exchange for Jesse Chavez, Gregor Blanco, and Tim Collins. Atlanta also received an unknown amount of cash in the deal.

Ankiel, 31, missed over two months with a quad strain this year, but will bring a much-needed .261/.317/.467 batting line to Atlanta's outfield. He is still owed just over $1MM for the remainder of the season, and there's a $6MM mutual option for his services next year that could instead be bought out for $500K.

The 34-year-old Farnsworth is back for a second stint with the Braves, and has pitched to a 2.42 ERA with 7.3 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 in 44.2 innings this year. He is owed $1.64MM through the end of the season, and Atlanta could buy out his $5.25MM option for next season for $500K. 

Chavez, 26, was acquired in the Rafael Soriano trade during the offseason. He had not performed as expected, with a 5.89 ERA and 7.1 K/9 in 36.2 innings this year. Blanco, 26, is a career .252/.361/.309 hitter in 633 big league plate appearances with experience in all three outfield spots. Both he and Chavez are under team control for another four seasons.

Collins, 20, was acquired in the Yunel EscobarAlex Gonzalez trade earlier this month. He has struck out 15.4 Double-A batters per nine innings this year, and boasts a 2.35 ERA in his minor league career. 

CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler first reported the deal while Ed Price of AOL FanHouse added details (Twitter link). A Royals press release confirmed the deal.

Mike Axisa contributed to this post.



Discussion: Best Move Of The Offseason

With Felipe Lopez finally catching on with the Cardinals, essentially every big name free agent is off the market (no disrespect to Jermaine Dye and Jarrod Washburn). That allows us to sit back and reflect on all of the offseason's moves, and try to figure out which one was the very best.

Here are some candidates…

There's certainly no shortage of candidates, but one has to be the best of the best, right? What do you think it is?


Rafael Soriano-Jesse Chavez Swap Made Official

The Rays made their deal for Braves reliever Rafael Soriano official today, tweets Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times.  He says the Rays came to terms on a one-year, $7.25MM deal with Soriano, who was acquired from Atlanta for reliever Jesse Chavez.  A reminder on how this all played out:

On December 1st, the Braves made arbitration offers to Type A free agent relievers Soriano and Mike Gonzalez, expecting both to decline.  The Braves moved quickly to sign Billy Wagner and Takashi Saito in the days following, making it clear that Soriano and Gonzalez would have lesser roles if they returned.  Gonzalez, a Scott Boras client, declined arbitration.  But after his agent talked to teams all day Monday at the Winter Meetings, Soriano decided the best move was to accept arbitration (otherwise, he would've cost his signing team a draft pick).  The Braves held talks with the Orioles, Astros, and Rays at the Meetings, eventually shipping Soriano to Tampa Bay for Chavez.  So the Braves hoped to get two draft picks for the loss of Soriano, but instead received five years of Chavez.

And from the Rays' point of view…back in November, a few days before they had to decide between second baseman Akinori Iwamura's $4.85MM option and a $550K buyout, they traded him to the Pirates for Chavez.  It was a solid move, Chavez being under team control through 2014.  Still, he wasn't a guy to whom they'd hand over the ninth inning.  The Rays were expected to add a few bargain free agents to compete for the closer job, with owner Stuart Sternberg saying on December 6th, "There is no $7 million closer showing up."  Maybe Sternberg was being literal, as the Rays sent Chavez to the Braves and now have a $7.25 million closer.


Rays Acquire Rafael Soriano

7:18pm: Joe Smith of the St. Petersburg Times says it's a "done deal." It'll be announced tomorrow.

6:29pm: David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution says the deal hasn't been finalized yet. The doctors didn't look at all the reports today, but it should go through tomorrow.

4:38pm: MLB.com's Mark Bowman says the medical reports have been reviewed and the Rafael SorianoJesse Chavez swap has been finalized.

11:00am: Rosenthal and Morosi say the Rays will sign Soriano for one year and $7MM or slightly more; the deal will be official after medical records are exchanged.  They say Soriano's contract will be non-guaranteed.

(more…)