The Braves bullpen is the most competitive position battle of Spring Training because there is a surplus of major league arms and only eight spots. Jesse Chavez will be vying for one of those spots and turned in a near-flawless outing against the Rays.
The ageless Chavez got the start on the mound, his second appearance of the Spring, and went two innings with three strikeouts, surrendering only one hit. The almost 40-year-old has been a marvel when donning the Tomahawk across his chest.
The journeyman reliever began his time in Atlanta all the way back in the 2010 season. When he returned during the 2021 season, Chavez was a critical piece to the Braves World Series run.
Following the Fall Classic, the Braves decided to let Chavez walk in free agency, and he ended up signing a deal with the Cubs. However, Chicago quickly traded him back to the Braves in exchange for Sean Newcomb. After spending several weeks with Atlanta, Chavez was once again traded, this time to the Angels in exchange for Raisel Iglesias.
But his 2022 journey wasn’t finished. Following some abysmal outings for Los Angeles, he was released and then returned to the Braves via waiver claims. Overall, the 2022 campaign was solid for the veteran, who posted a 3.76 ERA, 25.3% strikeout rate, and 6.8% walk rate over 69.1 innings. However, if you look at his splits, it’s wild how much better he did when throwing for the Braves
- Cubs: 5.2 innings, 6.35 ERA, 5.42 FIP
- Braves: (1st stint) 38.1 innings, 2.11 ERA, 2.55 FIP; (2nd stint) 14.2 innings, 4.30 ERA, 3.79 FIP
- Angels: 10.2 innings, 7.59 ERA, 4.81 FIP
Jesse Chavez turns into Mariano Rivera when in a Braves uniform, so it makes sense for Alex Anthopoulos to bring him back on a risk-free, team-friendly deal. He’s a great locker room presence and if he’s still got some left in the tank, he’ll have a good shot at making the Opening Day roster.
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