Rangers right-hander Jesse Chavez underwent surgery to have loose bodies removed from his elbow this week, reports T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com (via Twitter). He’ll go through an eight-week recovery process before beginning a throwing program and is expected to be ready for Spring Training 2020.
Chavez, 36, signed with the Rangers in each of the past two offseasons — first on a one-year, $1MM pact and then on a two-year, $8MM deal last winter. The veteran swingman enjoyed a career renaissance in 2018 between the Rangers and the Cubs (who acquired him in a midseason deal) but had more mixed results in 2019 as he vacillated between the bullpen and the rotation.
For much of the season, Chavez gave the Rangers strong results as a reliever and occasional opener. He carried an ERA not far above the 3.00 mark into mid June, when injuries and poor performances among the Rangers’ expected starters prompted the team to put him back into a traditional starting role. Chavez threw quite well in a handful of late-June starts before being shelled in three straight starts to kick off the month of July (17 earned runs in 11 innings).
After that ugly run, Chavez moved back into a bullpen role, but the damage to his season-long numbers had largely been completed by that point. He made only nine more appearances before going down with the elbow issue that is now ending his season, giving up five runs in a combined 1 2/3 innings during his final two outings of the season.
While Chavez’s final 4.85 ERA in 78 innings isn’t much to look at, the right-hander posted a 72-to-22 K/BB ratio this year and owns a 3.06 ERA in his past 143 1/3 innings as a reliever. With Mike Minor, Lance Lynn and Kolby Allard all expected to hold down rotation spots in 2020 and Texas widely expected to add starting pitching in the offseason, Chavez should be able to return to the ’pen next year. He’ll earn $4MM next season under the aforementioned two-year, $8MM contract.