The Braves have agreed to a minor league deal with free-agent righty Jesse Chavez, as first noted on the transactions log on at Braves.com. Presumably, he’ll head to their alternate site once he clears intake testing.
Chavez, 37, spent Spring Training with the Angels, who cut him loose late in Spring Training rather than pay him a $100K retention bonus (as would’ve been his right as a six-year veteran who qualified as an Article XXB free agent). Chavez struggled through 4 1/3 innings with the Halos during Cactus League play, yielding seven runs on nine hits and three walks with just a pair of strikeouts (25 batters faced).
Chavez had a solid run with the Rangers and Cubs from 2018-19, pitching to a combined 3.58 ERA with a 23 percent strikeout rate and an excellent 5.5 percent walk rate through 173 1/3 innings (101 relief appearances, nine starts). But the wheels came off for the veteran righty last summer in the second season of a two-year deal with Texas, as he was clobbered for a 6.88 ERA in 17 innings of work.
This will be the second stint with the Braves for Chavez, who tossed 36 2/3 innings for Atlanta more than a decade ago in 2010. The results weren’t pretty at the time, but Chavez broke out not long after and solidified himself as a solid swingman over a seven-year stretch during which he pitched for six different teams. All told, he carries a career 4.52 ERA, a 20.8 percent strikeout rate, a 7.4 percent walk rate and a 41.6 percent ground-ball rate through 933 innings spread across 13 seasons and nine different big league clubs.
The Braves currently have five pitchers — Mike Soroka, Max Fried, Drew Smyly, Touki Toussaint and Sean Newcomb — on the injured list. Bringing Chavez into the mix afford them some veteran depth both in the bullpen and the rotation, though it’s been more than three weeks since the Angels cut him loose, so he may need some time to ramp up before he’s even considered for a look with the big league club.