At the trade deadline the Chicago Cubs bullpen was being used at an enormously high clip while also dealing with injuries. The team went out and got some help when they acquired reliever Jesse Chavez, who immediately made a huge impact out of the bullpen.
The Chicago Cubs acquisition of Jesse Chavez from the Texas Rangers was a move that completely flew under the radar initially. What the Cubs got was an 11-year journeyman who had pitched as both a reliever and a starter with nine different teams. He proved to be much more than that for the Cubs.
Chavez quickly made his presence felt in a bullpen that was being taxed at an extremely high rate. In his first appearance for the Cubs, the right-hander pitched two perfect frames while striking out one batter. The right-hander ended up pitching nine innings in his first six appearances as a Cub without allowing a single run.
In his short stint with the Cubs, Chavez was absolutely lights-out, posting just a 1.15 ERA in 39 innings. He gave up just five total runs and ended up with the lowest ERA of any Cubs reliever. He also struck out 42 batters which ended up being the fifth-most among Cubs relievers in just 32 games.
Chavez was the perfect acquisition for the Cubs bullpen
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What made Chavez so effective was his ability to throw strikes and limit baserunners. He only allowed five walks as a Cub equating to a 1.2 BB/9 while posting a minuscule WHIP of 0.790. Both of those are career-lows for the journeyman reliever.
Chavez was also extremely versatile out of the bullpen, being used in a number of different situations. When the Cubs needed him to close out games he did it, recording four saves. When the Cubs needed him to eat some innings, he obliged, as he pitched more than one inning on 10 different occasions.
Chavez is a free agent this winter and I think it’s safe to say re-signing him is a no-brainer. He certainly wants to be back in Chicago as he has said if the Cubs don’t resign him he would retire.
He definitely exceeded any expectations the Cubs had for him when they dealt for him and he has earned himself a second stint on the North Side. I think assuming it’s for a reasonable price, Chavez will be back pitching for the Cubs in 2019.