The Brewers have designated Opening Day-starter Jhoulys Chacin for assignment, Robert Murray of The Athletic reports. IF/OF Cory Spangenberg has also been selected from Triple-A San Antonio, per the team.
Chacin, 31, had hit the IL with a lat-strain a week ago after a dreadful 2019 campaign. The righty, who started some of the biggest games for the Central-winning Crew last season, pitched to a 5.79 ERA/5.69 FIP in the final year of a two-year, $15.5MM deal signed prior to the 2018 season. Chacin’s strikeout rate was actually the highest of his career, but his longstanding command woes re-appeared and he was unable to keep the ball in the park, the one trait at which he excelled so masterfully last season.
Chacin’s 3.50 ERA in ’18 was mostly a mirage – his .250 BABIP, the second-lowest mark in the NL, wasn’t going to be sustained, nor was a 0.84 HR/9 in Milwaukee’s puny Miller Park. Once an extreme sinkerballer in his Coors Field days, Chacin in recent seasons has become heavily reliant on a hard-to-identify slider, a pitch NL hitters have finally begun to figure out. The righty’s grounder rate, at 37.4%, was a career low, and he wasn’t able to throw enough strikes to compensate. Chacin’ll certainly be an intriguing buy-low option for many contenders, a number of which may have designs on inserting the hurler into some sort of righty-heavy relief role.
Spangenberg, now 28, had spent all of ’19 at San Antonio. The longtime Padre has posted some of the league’s highest strikeout rates in recent seasons, and doesn’t much appear to have mollified the issue in AAA, with a K rate still hovering near 30%. Still, he possesses an intriguing power/versaility combo off at the bench, and could conceivably fill in at a number of positions for the Crew down the stretch.