We've said it over and over again: if there's one thing the Cubs have done well in recent years, it's adding low-risk veteran relievers in the offseason and finding a ton of success. One glaring example of this was the 2020 pickup of left-hander Andrew Chafin who, once again, will be available this winter.
Chicago initially acquired Chafin in a late season trade with Arizona, but he wound up returning to the team in free agency, setting him up for a stellar showing in 2021. In 43 appearances prior to the trade deadline, the southpaw worked to a 2.03 ERA and 0.839 WHIP - setting him up as a valuable trade commodity come mid-summer.
Amidst the Cubs' trade deadline purge, Jed Hoyer sent Chafin to the Oakland Athletics in exchange for Daniel Palencia and Greg Deichmann. The latter's time with the organization already reached an unceremonious end, while Palencia turned in a solid, but hardly spectacular, season with High-A South Bend this year. It's safe to say this isn't one of the front office's home run swings.
Cubs desperately need veteran left-handed help in the bullpen
Last winter, Chafin waded out into free agency, eventually signing a one-year, $6.5 million deal with the Detroit Tigers with a player option for 2023. But after another strong showing this year in the Motor City, he has declined that option - potentially setting up a reunion with the Cubs, a team that will undoubtedly be looking for veteran relief help this offseason.
Despite a plethora of arms poised to return, hoping to build on their 2022 bodies of work, the Cubs can certainly stand to add some experience to the bullpen. Chafin, who absolutely loved his time on the North Side, would shore up a relief corps that doesn't have a ton from the left side as things currently stand.
Rookie left-hander Brandon Hughes was a key piece for David Ross this year, working to a 3.12 ERA across 57 2/3 innings of work. But apart from him, guys like Daniel Norris and Sean Newcomb just never really panned out - so expect Hoyer and co. to focus here in the months to come.
Given his age, I don't suspect Chafin will break the bank. And if you're Chicago, there's no real downside to adding a guy who's been lights-out since the start of the 2021 season. It's time to bring the Sheriff back to these parts.