Is Jesse Chavez on the Braves the best reliever ever?

MLB: JUN 10 Nationals at Braves

The entire Braves pitching staff has been excellent to begin the season. The starters have picked up the slack with Spencer Strider down for the season, and Brian Snitker couldn’t ask for much more out of his bullpen.

Raisel Iglesias continues to be an elite-level closer, while Pierce Johnson, A.J. Minter, and Joe Jimenez are a group of the best set-up men in baseball. Then, there’s little ole’ 40-year-old Jesse Chavez, who the Braves picked up right before the start of the season, sitting there with a 1.35 ERA over 13.1 innings of work.

At this point, Jesse Chavez on the Braves is more like a folk legend than reality. It quite literally might be the wildest three years of a career that I’ve ever seen from a player.

We all know the story at this point. Chavez inked a minor-league deal with the Braves back in 2021, worked his way to the majors and became a critical piece to Atlanta’s bullpen on the way to the World Series, posting a 2.14 ERA over 30 appearances.

Despite that success, Alex Anthopoulos decided not to offer Chavez a contract in the offseason. He went on to sign with the Cubs, where he struggled and was traded back to the Braves not even a month into the season. With Atlanta, Chavez was once again brilliant, but it wasn’t enough for the Braves to keep him. He was dealt to the Angels at the trade deadline for Raisel Iglesias, only to completely implode in Los Angeles to the point where they DFA’d him, and Alex Anthopoulos picked him back up for nothing.

The following offseason, the Braves did offer him a contract. He would go on to win a job out of Spring Training and was on his way to a career year, recording a 1.56 ERA over 36 appearances, until a fractured leg essentially caused him to miss the rest of the season.

Given his injury and age, the Braves didn’t seem to have much interest in bringing Jesse Chavez back for the 2024 campaign. He went on to sign a minor-league deal with the Chicago White Sox and was so bad in Spring Training that arguably the worst team in baseball sent him packing, and of course, the Braves were waiting for him with open arms.

No matter how badly Alex Anthopoulos wants to get rid of this guy, Chavez just keeps coming back for more, and he’s once again turned into Mariano Rivera now that he’s back on the Braves.

Baseball is a fickle game where the smallest things can make a massive impact. The mental side of dealing with failure is far more important than physical attributes, which is why unexplainable things take place across the league every season. Still, I’m not quite sure I’ve seen anything like Jesse Chavez when he’s on the Braves.

The guy looks like he should be pitching in a beer league softball game for every other team, but with a tomahawk across his chest, he’s one of the best relievers the game has ever seen. It’s more like a Hollywood script than reality, but damn I am glad he’s on our side.

Photo: Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire

Scroll to Top
%d bloggers like this: