Is there room in the Braves bullpen for Jesse Chavez?
Jesse Chavez was outstanding for the Braves last season, pitching 34.2 innings and maintaining a 1.56 ERA. With these results, as well as his clubhouse presence, it's no surprise fans are clamoring for a reunion.
However, when you look at the state of the Braves bullpen, it's not surprising while the two sides haven't struck a deal yet.
Of the eight bullpen spots, there are six locks: Raisel Iglesias, A.J. Minter, Pierce Johnson, Joe Jimenez, Aaron Bummer, and Reynaldo Lopez. These relievers are all set to receive millions, have no options, and are likely the anchor pieces to the pen, although there is a small chance Lopez makes his way into the rotation.
Ray Kerr, Tyler Matzek, Huascar Ynoa, Dylan Lee, Jackson Stephens, and Daysbel Hernandez are relievers on the 40-man roster who will look to win the remaining two spots in the bullpen, while Ken Giles is a wild card to make it from the list of non-roster invitees.
Kerr, Ynoa, Lee, and Hernandez have options remaining, while Matzek and Stephens do not.
If the Braves want to retain Jesse Chavez, they will need to option all four relievers with options and let go of either Matzek or Stephens (with the latter being the most obvious pick).
Of course, if the Braves re-sign Chavez, the bullpen have the same issue as last year's team, as there won't be a single reliever who can be optioned in the event of the bullpen being overtaxed.
Is there a spot for Jesse Chavez on the 26-man roster? Technically. But the full bullpen might be the reason the Braves stay away from a reunion.