Right-handed pitcher Jhoulys Chacin requested his release from the Twins today, and he is no longer in camp with the team, according to Betsy Helfand of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Chacin had inked a minor-league deal with the Twins in February which included an opt-out clause that allowed him to enter free agency. The 32-year-old will hit the open market in hopes of latching on with another team ahead of Opening Day.
Chacin signed on in the winter with a chance to compete for a spot in the back of the Twins’ rotation, representing an insurance option against Michael Pineda’s suspension and the health of Rich Hill. Chacin would’ve competed with Randy Dobnak and Devin Smeltzer, but after subsequently acquiring starter Kenta Maeda and with Hill back to full strength, the need for Chacin has diminished. Presently, the Twins’ rotation is shaping up to consist of Maeda, Hill, Jose Berrios, Jake Odorizzi, and Homer Bailey.
Last year was a frustrating one for Chacin, who went from starting Opening Day for Milwaukee to being released in August. That came after he stumbled to a 5.79 ERA through 19 starts with the Brewers. A September run with the Red Sox didn’t go much better, with his ERA climbing to 7.36 in a handful of appearances.
Still, Chacin authored an impressive stretch in 2017 and 2018, posting a cumulative 3.69 ERA in 67 starts with the Padres and Brewers. He has never been much of a strikeout specialist, as he averaged just 7.5 K/9 in those two years, but his increased reliance on his slider made him a tougher matchup for hitters. Last year, home runs were Chacin’s downfall, and teams looking at Chacin will have to decide if the 21% HR/FB rate was simply a streak of bad luck, or indicative of the pitcher Chacin will be this year and beyond.