Well, with apologies, I evidently missed this deal tonight (but managed to catch Nelson Cruz’s reunion with the Twins): The Chicago Cubs have reportedly re-signed left-handed reliever Andrew Chafin, whom they acquired from the Diamondbacks at the 2020 deadline, to a one-year deal with a mutual option for 2022.
Per source, Chafin will earn $2.25 million in 2021. The mutual option is worth $5.25 million with a $500K buyout. He also has $500K in incentives each season ($125K for 50, 55, 60, 65 games pitched). So the total guarantee is $2.75 million if the option isn't picked up. https://t.co/6g7Yhq2MHp
— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) February 3, 2021
Chafin, 30, will earn a base salary of $2.25M this season, with up to an additional $500K in incentives for innings pitched. He also earned himself a significant $5.25M mutual option for 2022, with a $500K buyout, bringing his guarantee up to $2.5 million.
Chafin managed to notch just 3.0 full innings over four appearances with the Cubs after his mid-season trade to Chicago (he was injured when they acquired him), but as we discussed at the time of his arrival, his upside is fairly significant, given his history:
Here’s part of what Brett had to say when the Cubs first acquired Chafin back in August:
Chafin, 30, was quietly excellent for the Diamondbacks for a long time, and although he’s struggling this year, some of the peripherals are still great …
… the short version is that he owns lefties, is very good against righties, and this year’s struggles are almost entirely about an enormous volume of hard contact (which may be concerning or may be a small sample fluke). For a rental lefty – he’s a free agent after this year – that’s about exactly the type of guy you could realistically hope for the Cubs to land.
For his career, lefties have slashed just .230/.306/.311 (.275 wOBA) off Chafin, which is absolutely stellar, while righties have had a hard enough time, themselves: .245/.333/.365 (.302). Generally speaking, Chafin has routinely matched a mid-to-upper 20s strikeout rate with a solid 50%+ groundball rate while inducing plenty of weak contact.
My guess is the Cubs did really like his potential last season and are anxious to see what they can do with him when he’s healthy – and given his guarantee, I’d assume he’s over the finger strain that kept him off the field for much of 2020. There is still a three-batter minimum this season, so we’ll have to see how David Ross intends to utilize his particular skillset, but it never hurts to have a dominant left-hander available in the pen.
By my count, that brings the Cubs 40-man roster to a full 40 players. More tomorrow.
With the Andrew Chafin signing included, I have the Cubs payroll (including player benefits/insurance and an arb estimate for Happ) up to $153.5M for 2021. pic.twitter.com/NrSJAIFNoS
— Michael Cerami (@Michael_Cerami) February 3, 2021