The Cubs are known to be major players in that auction, especially with their closer, Brandon Morrow, recently hitting the DL for the second time in 2018. With that in mind, last night, Theo and Jed went out and got themselves a reliever to help shoulder the post-All Star Break load. However, Britton remains an Oriole (for now); this particular trade, is only warming up the hot stove:
Jesse Chavez has carved out a nice career as a swingman for the Pirates, Braves, Royals, A's, Blue Jays, Dodgers, Angels and Rangers over the last eleven years. Seeing as the Cubs rotation has been in flux for most of the 2018 campaign (thanks to the Darvish injury and Chatwood walk problem), having someone who can step in and take an emergency start or two isn't a bad idea. Plus, with the bullpen being slightly overworked (courtesy of the starters not going deep into games) before the Morrow injury, having another relief option must be a welcome sight for Joe Maddon.
The well-traveled journeyman had been manning the mound for Texas this year, posting a 3.51 ERA and 8.0 K/9 and 1.9 BB/9 in 30 appearances (exclusively in relief) for the Rangers. As a groundball specialist, with Javy Baez and Addison Russell playing behind him, that ERA is bound to decrease.
One more fun fact about Chavez - this isn't his first association with the Chicago National League Ballclub. Although he played his first professional ball in the Texas chain starting in 2002, Jesse was actually drafted by the Cubbies the year prior, in the 39th round, back when Andy MacPhail was still the Northside GM. The high school graduate neglected to sign though, choosing instead to attend community college and re-enter the draft the following summer.
So, it took 17 years and several front office shake-ups, but the Cubs finally got their man!
In order to secure Jesse's services, the Cubs were forced to part with last year's seventh-round draft selection, Ricky Tyler Thomas. During his first full year in the Cubs system, the pitcher has turned in impressive results, twirling 75 innings of 2.88 ERA ball for the South Bend Cubs. However, being that those numbers came in low-A ball, Thomas represents nothing more than a lottery ticket for the Rangers.
While that lottery ticket could be scratched and find Thomas sitting comfortably the middle of the Texas rotation in a few years, this is the kind of depth deal that contenders make. In short, it's well-worth the risk to shore up a World Series contender's pen.
Luckily for me, I just so happened to have this 2013 Topps Update single sitting in my trade stacks. Now, it will shift from that dusty box to my marquee Cubs All-Time Roster Collection. Seeing as Chavez is signed to only a one-year contract, it seems unlikely the his stay in the Windy City will last long enough to earn a true, blue Cubs card (unless he does something Now worthy), this particular pasteboard could serve as his CATRC representation for a long time.
Anyway, here's hoping that Chavez can sop up some quality innings this summer and fall, be it from the bullpen or the starting rotation. The Cubs are roaring out of the All-Star Break with a key five-game series with the Cardinals, that includes a double-header - the pitching staff is going to be tested right away.
Welcome to Chicago and to my CATRC binder, Jesse Chavez! Now that the hot stove is pre-heating, maybe somebody will soon be joining you. Zach Britton? Dylan Bundy? Jacob deGrom?! We shall soon see.