Cubs Select Jesse Chavez’s Contract

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Jesse Chavez has officially made the Cubs’ Opening Day roster, as the team announced that it had selected the veteran right-hander’s contract.  No corresponding move needed to be made, as the Cubs had an open spot on their 40-man roster.

There isn’t much surprise to the move, as it was widely expected that Chavez would crack Chicago’s roster when he signed his split contract earlier this month.  Chavez’s first game will officially make it 15 MLB seasons for the 38-year-old, and his second stint as a Cub, after tossing 38 innings for the Wrigleyville team in 2018.

A rough 2020 season with the Rangers meant that Chavez had to settle for minor league contracts in the 2020-21 offseason, with Chavez first signing with the Angels and then with the Braves after Los Angeles cut him at the end of Spring Training.  The end result was the first World Series ring of Chavez’s long career, as he eventually made Atlanta’s roster and then pitched 33 2/3 innings in the regular season and 6 1/3 more frames in the playoffs.

Chavez posted a 2.14 ERA during the regular season, and while his 3.69 xFIP/3.58 SIERA indicate some good fortune, the righty helped his case with a solid 27.1% strikeout rate.  Most strikingly, Chavez didn’t allow a single homer in either the regular season or postseason, a surprising outcome for a pitcher who has long struggled at keeping the ball in the park.

The bullpen has been a priority for the Cubs this winter, as Chavez joins David Robertson, Mychal Givens, Daniel Norris, Chris Martin, Adrian Sampson, and Robert Gsellman as new relief options to join the club.  Chavez figures to pitch in his usual middle relief role, though he also received four pseudo-starts last year as an opener.

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