Right after their 9-6 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday night, it had been reported that the Chicago Cubs have acquired veteran pitcher Jesse Chavez from the Texas Rangers in exchange for a minor league pitcher.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) July 20, 2018
One could say that after 17 years, the Cubs finally got their guy.
The Cubs were the first team to ever draft Chavez, selecting him in the 39th round of the amateur draft back in 2001. He did not sign with the team, and ended up getting taken later in the draft (42nd round) the following year.
Currently playing in his 11th big league season, Chavez has had plenty of experience pitching as both a starting pitcher and out of the bullpen, though he has pitched exclusively as a reliever so far this year. He has started 70 games in his major league career, and in those outings he owns a 4.45 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, and averages roughly 5 2/3 innings per start. For a guy that may come in to give the team a spot start every once in a while, those are not bad numbers to work with. As a reliever he owns a 4.76 ERA and a 1.39 WHIP, but he has pitched much better than that in 30 relief appearances this year with a 3.51 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, and a 4.17 K/BB ratio.
His best season as a starter came back in 2014 when he was with the Oakland Athletics as he posted a 3.44 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, and a 8.5 K/9 rate in 21 starts (he also 3.54 ERA in 11 relief appearances). While he hasn’t matched those totals over the course of a full season at any other point of his career, it is encouraging to see that his numbers are coming back down to that range this year.
Chavez becomes the next pitcher employed by the Cubs that can work in any role and eat up multiple innings, joining the likes of Mike Montgomery (who is currently a member of the rotation), Luke Farrell, and Eddie Butler (who is currently rehabbing from a groin injury). These kinds of pitchers have proven to be a key part of how Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer construct their rosters, and that became apparent as soon as they rolled into Chicago by adding guys like Carlos Villanueva during their rebuilding years.
Heading to the Rangers in the deal is left-handed pitcher Tyler Thomas, who is in his second season of professional baseball. In 26 career appearances (14 starts, all of them coming this year) he owns a 2.77 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, and a 3.89 K/BB ratio thanks to a 10.0 K/9 rate. The 22-year-old Thomas was a seventh-round selection in last year’s draft, and to this point he is having no problem at the Single-A level with a 2.88 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, and a 5.79 K/9 ratio (9.7K/9, 1.7 BB/9).
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