Yesterday, the Braves made a minor transaction that most teams probably didn’t even notice. After DFA’ing Sean Newcomb, they instead ended up getting something for him in return, trading him to the Cubs for an old friend — Jesse Chavez.
Now, for the most part, Chavez is a journeyman. He’s 38-years-old, has a career 4.45 ERA, and has played on nine different teams. His stats this season aren’t very inspiring either, posting a 6.35 ERA over 5.2 innings. However, Braves fans know how vital Chavez was in their World Series run, adding some much-needed depth to the bullpen and pitching lights out throughout the regular season and into the playoffs. Without him, I don’t think the Atlanta curse would have been broken, and it’s these kinds of signings that have consistently paid off for Alex Anthopoulos.
The blockbuster signings, trades, and extensions get all the headlines, but to be regarded as one of the best general managers in baseball, you have to find some diamonds in the rough. Anthopoulos has had no shortage of those since joining the Braves organization back in 2017. Guillermo Heredia, Ehire Adrianza, and Tyler Matzek were players few had even heard of a few years ago who played critical roles in the Braves’ remarkable run last season. And if you want to go even further back, Anthopoulos has struck on guys like Anthony Swarzak, Matt Joyce, and Ryan Flaherty in similar fashion.
Not everybody is going to be a superstar. The playoffs in baseball can sometimes be a crapshoot, but the team with the best roster from 1-26 generally takes home The Commissioner’s Trophy. Every player on the roster has a job, and when all 26 guys are “pulling on the same rope,” as Joc Pederson would say, that is when the magic happens.
With Luke Jackson and Jay Jackson going down for the season and Sean Newcomb and Jacob Webb clearly not working out in Atlanta, the Braves needed some bullpen help all of a sudden. Chavez should be able to provide that, and Anthopoulos was able to acquire him for a player that the Braves were going to lose anyway. These are the kind of transactions that don’t get remembered but play a huge role in a team’s quest for a World Series.
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