When the Cubs traded for Jesse Chavez back in July, a lot of fans were asking “who?” and shaking their heads. Chavez has been a jack of all trades, going multiple innings on occasion and closing some games.
Right-hander Jesse Chavez has had a well traveled career, first reaching the major leagues in 2008 with the Pirates. He also pitched for the Braves, Royals, Blue Jays twice, Dodgers, Angels, Rangers, and his longest tenured stint was with the A’s back from 2012-2015.
He has made 401 appearances in his career, making 70 starts. He has pitched to a 4.51 ERA, nothing to write home about. With the Cubs, however, he has pitched to a 1.16 ERA in 18 games. In 23 1/3 innings, he has given up just 16 hits, walked only two and struck out 28 – with opponents hitting just .193 against him. Chavez has only recorded five career saves, and two of them have come during his time with the Cubs.
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Chicago picked him up as a guy to simply eat some innings in an overworked bullpen. Little did the Cubs know that he would become a key member of the bullpen that ranks fourth in the majors in ERA and second in the national league. One of the best attributes for Chavez is that he’s a consistent strike thrower, and the Cubs’ bullpen, while it has been dominant at times, lacks guys who do this.
Chavez is also doing a good job at missing bats, which is another thing this pitching staff has struggled with. The strikeout rate is considerably down this season, and if there is even just one guy that could come in and get a few key strikeouts off the bench that will go a long way, especially in a postseason series. Chavez is looking like that guy.
Should the Cubs decide to reward Chavez for his success so far, it will most likely be a short deal no longer than two years, mostly due to the fact there is a lot of mileage on that arm and he’s 35. But Chavez has gotten major league hitters out for a lot of years, and has been a reliable arm to give some innings out of the bullpen, despite taking his lumps.