UPDATE; Nov. 30, 8:05 p.m.: The Rangers made the signing of right-handed reliever Jesse Chavez, who agreed to a deal earlier this week, official on Friday. Chavez, 35, will receive $4 million per season over the next two years.
Chavez posted a 2.55 ERA in 95 relief innings for the Rangers and Chicago Cubs. It was the second-highest total by a reliever in the majors in 2018. Chavez began the 2018 season with the Rangers but was traded to Chicago in mid-July when it became clear the Rangers were sellers on the market.
Original post, Nov. 27: A year ago, the Rangers plucked Jesse Chavez out of a depressed free agent market and found themselves both a reliable reliever and an attractive trade chip.
Minus the extreme bargain pricing, the Rangers are going back for Round 2.
Three industry sources confirmed Tuesday that the club had agreed to a two-year deal with the 35-year-old right-hander worth approximately $8 million. Chavez earned $1.5 million in 2018. The deal is still pending a physical.
Chavez gives the Rangers versatility on a pitching staff riddled with holes. He is a durable multi-inning reliever and can also be used to start in a pinch. He ranked second in the majors in relief innings last year with 951/3 in a season split between the Rangers and the Chicago Cubs. His 2.55 ERA was the third lowest by a reliever with at least 90 innings in the last 10 years.
The Rangers traded Chavez to the Cubs for left-handed pitching prospect Tyler Thomas in July when it became clear they were sellers in the market.
The Rangers could use Chavez as a straight reliever but have talked about using a lot of nontraditional roles in 2019. That could include pairing some young pitchers with a veteran reliever in a piggyback arrangement in which the starter goes four or five innings and the reliever goes two or three.
I wrote about Chavez as a pitcher to consider for the Rangers this offseason:
Probably will take more than the $1.5 million it cost the Rangers in 2018, but he’s a versatile pitcher who can help a staff that is looking to tweak traditional roles. A great presence for young pitchers. Could swing between rotation and bullpen easily. Probably looking at a two-year deal and maybe $2.5 million per year.
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