The Braves have re-signed right-hander Jesse Chavez, as announced by Chavez himself on Instagram. The Athletic’s David O’Brien reports that it is a minor league deal for the 39-year-old, and it presumably contains an invitation to the Braves’ big league Spring Training camp. Chavez will receive $1.2MM in guaranteed money if he makes Atlanta’s active roster, the New York Post’s Jon Heyman reports (via Twitter).
As he approaches what would his 16th Major League season, this would be Chavez’s fifth different stint with Atlanta. After appearing in 28 games with the Braves way back in the 2010 season, Chavez returned in 2021 and became a very effective weapon out of the bullpen for the World Series champions. He signed a free agent deal with the Cubs last offseason, but was then quickly dealt back to the Braves in April, and then traded again to the Angels as part of the trade deadline swap that sent Raisel Iglesias to Atlanta. Finally, the Angels released Chavez in August, and he returned to the Braves via waiver claim.
Even with all this movement, 2022 was another solid year on the mound for the veteran, as Chavez had a 3.76 ERA, 25.3% strikeout rate, and 6.8% walk rate over 69 1/3 combined innings. While Chavez did allow a lot of hard contact, his wOBA (.325) and xwOBA (.321) were virtually identical, and Chavez was actually on the bad end of the batted-ball fortune scale, as per his .333 BABIP. It has made for a nice late-career revival for Chavez, and while it didn’t translate into a guaranteed deal, it seems quite likely that he’ll turn up in Atlanta’s bullpen perhaps as early as Opening Day.
Braves president of baseball operations Alex Anthopoulos has a habit of moves relatively early in the offseason, and he has already added both Chavez and Nick Anderson (on a split contract) to the bullpen mix. Kolby Allard may also be an option for the relief corps, after the Braves re-acquired the southpaw from the Rangers in the Jake Odorizzi swap.