The Cubs are bringing a familiar face back to the bullpen, agreeing to a deal with Jesse Chavez, according to Mike Rodriguez of Univision. The righty first hinted at his Cubs reunion on Instagram. Chavez signed a minor league/split deal, according to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times. Chavez is represented by Apex Baseball.
Chavez was an effective reliever in Chicago back in 2018 after being acquired mid-season from the Rangers. Since then, the 38-year-old returned to Texas for two seasons. He signed a minor league deal with the Angels back in February ’21, moving on to the Braves after failing to make the Halos’ Opening Day roster. The Braves selected Chavez’s contract in late June after he put in 20 innings for the Gwinnett Stripers. Chavez wasn’t used in high-leverage situations by the Braves, but still cracked their roster for all three rounds of the playoffs.
With a 91 mile-an-hour average fastball velocity, Chavez doesn’t throw as hard as most of his peers these days. Nonetheless, the 14-year MLB veteran still managed to post a 2.14 ERA in 33 2/3 innings for Atlanta in 2021. That came with a better-than-average 27.1 K% and 8.3 BB%. Often prone to the longball – Chavez allowed one to every 13 batters or so he faced in 2020 – fortune broke his way as none of his flyballs left the yard in ’21. Though he’s not known for his velocity or spin rate, Chavez has generally been above average in preventing hard hits.
Chavez brings a veteran presence to a Cubs bullpen that recently took a big hit with the news Codi Heuer underwent Tommy John surgery. The club currently has Rowan Wick atop the depth chart, and is likely to bring in additional veterans.
The post-lockout free agent market has seen Chavez, Matt Strahm, Joe Kelly, Alex Colome, Jeurys Familia, Steve Cishek, Brandon Workman, and Juan Minaya leave the board in short order. Click here to see who remains – a group led by Kenley Jansen, Ian Kennedy, Brad Boxberger, Brad Hand, Andrew Chafin, Ryan Tepera, Yusmeiro Petit, Hansel Robles, Adam Ottavino, Richard Rodriguez, and Jake Diekman, among others.