Well, it looks like the pre-Christmas deadline for deals might actually be a thing for some players and teams, eh?
Earlier today, the Orioles indicated that they’d give the Manny Machado trade talks one or two more days (max), and then a couple hours later, the Rays and Giants pulled off a trade for Evan Longoria.
And now, there’s this:
#Brewers close to agreement with free-agent RHP Jhoulys Chacin, sources tell The Athletic.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 20, 2017
According to Ken Rosenthal, the Milwaukee Brewers are nearing an agreement with 29-year-old (soon-to-be-30) right-handed starter Jhoulys Chacin. The details of the contract are not out yet, but we’ll update this report as soon as they’re released.
In the meantime, know that MLB Trade Rumors ranked Chacin as the 33rd best free agent available this winter, and projected a two-year $14M deal.
In 2017, Chacin made 32 healthy starts for the Padres, reaching 180.1 IP. Despite a below-average 20.0% strikeout rate and an above average 9.4 BB%, Chacin got by with plenty of ground balls (49.1%) and really solid contact management (20.2% soft, 28.5% hard). In the current juiced ball/fly ball era, Chacin (few fly balls, plenty of weak contact) is the right type of pitcher to target, and could be a solid pickup for the Brewers …
… assuming his home/road splits weren’t telling. At Petco, Chacin held batters to an absurd .172/.262/.287 batting line (1.79 ERA). On the road, however, all batters suddenly became All-Stars against him: .295/.383/.469 (6.53 ERA).
The question for now, however, is how does this impact the rest of the Brewers offseason?
Although it remained something of a long shot, the Brewers were seen as a reasonable landing spot for a free agent like Jake Arrieta – he’d act as their ” 2015 Jon Lester” and help them officially arrive on the scene. They have a solid, young team with many more prospects coming and a need in the rotation. And obviously, Chacin doesn’t fill the same void Arrieta would (both in terms of expected value and contract cost), but it’s fair to wonder if the Brewers didn’t just make their big rotation addition for the 2018 season, after already having brought back Yovani Gallardo.
As of now (assuming the Chacin deal gets done), the sure-things in the rotation include Chase Anderson, Zach Davies, Chacin, and Jimmy Nelson whenever he returns from his shoulder injury. Brent Suter, 28, was pretty successful in his 14 starts for the Brewers last season and, thus, is probably the most obvious candidate to round things out. But if the Brewers wanted to add someone like Arrieta, they could easily make that happen, as Suter works out of the pen, as well.
We’ll have to wait and see if this deal gets done, but in the meantime it seems like a pretty solid, if unspectacular move for the Brewers.
And, relatedly, you have to wonder if the sudden uptick in movement hasn’t shaken some things loose elsewhere, leading the Brewers to find out they weren’t going to be able to do Hoped-For-Transaction X, and forcing their hand on Chacin. Stay with us, because the rest of the week figures to be busy.