Free agent reliever Jesse Chavez has yet to find a home for 2024 despite great results this past season. The now 40 year-old pitcher was in the midst of a tremendous year, before a line drive comebacker off the bat of Miguel Cabrera sidelined him for the majority of the season.
We can't say for certain if last year was the last baseball we will see from the veteran pitcher, but if it was we salute you Jesse. Although 2023 wasn't the largest sample size season in his 16 year career, his stats showcase how it was one of his most efficient.
Breaking down the numbers
Manager Brian Snitker loves Jesse Chavez for a number of reasons. Outside of his production, Chavez's flexibility and willingness to be the Braves swiss army knife down in the bullpen, allowed Snit to utilize him in numerous ways. To attest to that, Chavez pitched in every inning (even the first as an opener in bullpen games) for the Braves last season. That includes two innings pitched in extra innings.
Amazingly, Chavez had a sub 2.00 ERA in every inning, except the seventh. As for his season totals in 2023, his numbers were some of the best of his career. In 34.2 IP Chavez posted a 1.56 ERA, 3.05 FIP, 27.1 K%, and 1.4 bWAR.
Things were going swimmingly until a June 14th day game up in Motown. Entering that game, Chavez owned a 1.55 ERA and 2.46 FIP in 29 IP, and was hearing All-Star game talk for the first time in his lengthy career. Sadly, that went down the drain when Chavez was placed on the IL after Detroit Tigers legend Miguel Cabrera lined a baseball off Chavez's shin.
The injury turned out to be worse than originally thought, a fracture to be exact, and Chavez remained on the IL until September 20th. He finished the season by appearing in five games and tossing 5.2 innings of one earned-run ball.
What lies next for the veteran? We simply don't know. I think most of Braves country isn't against bringing the beloved Chavez back on a minor league deal as insurance for Atlanta's deep bullpen. However, it's unclear if Chavez will be willing to accept a minor league deal, given how he pitched last year. Also, it's unclear if he'll even elect to keep pitching at all. If that was truly it for the long-time big leaguer, we salute you Jesse Chavez.