2016 Dodgers in Review: RP Jesse Chavez

IP K% BB% HR/9 ERA FIP xFIP WAR
MLB (TOR/LA) 67 22.3 6.4 1.61 4.43 4.49 4.10 0.0

What Happened in 2016: Began the season in Toronto and was acquired at the trade deadline for Mike Bolsinger.

When the Dodgers traded for Jesse Chavez at the trade deadline, I called it a “sneaky good deal.” I mean, all they had to give up was Bolsinger — a guy who didn’t have much of a role on the 2016 Dodgers — to get a potential boost for the bullpen.

“Chavez, almost 33, has a nearly career-best strikeout rate at 24.3 percent, and he does have a career-best walk rate at 5.8 percent. Where he has been hurt this season is the home runs. His HR/FB% is an ugly 19.1 percent, while his HR/9 is nearly 2. That won’t play. The Rogers Centre is a notorious hitters’ park, and Chavez’s fly ball tendencies didn’t play well there, with seven of the nine home runs he has given up in 2016 have come at home. That number should normalize in Dodger Stadium. He is also throwing harder than he has since 2010, as his fastball velocity has jumped 2 MPH from 91.2 to 93.3 MPH with the move to the pen and he throws it 40.5 percent of the time. He’s a rare 4-pitch reliever (cutter, 39.5 percent; changeup, 10.1 percent; curveball 9.8 percent), primarily because he used to be a starter.

Bolsinger didn’t have much value to the Dodgers anymore after a move to the bullpen. There was a thought he could be the long reliever/swingman, but he has struggled a bit this season, regardless of role.”

For awhile, it did look like a sneaky good deal.

Despite a couple rough outings in his first two appearances as a Dodger (Aug. 2 and 5), he threw well over the next 12 games: 15 1/3 IP, 1.17 ERA, .167 BAA, 16.4 K-BB%. But an ugly September (8 IP, 5.63 ERA, .353 BAA, 10.5 K-BB%) killed any chance of his making the postseason roster.

Chavez broke into the majors as a reliever with the Pirates before bouncing around a bit. He landed in Oakland and was a starter for two of the three seasons he was there. Toronto signed him in last winter and used him solely out of the bullpen — just as the Dodgers did. I was wondering if there was at least a chance he might start or be brought back as a spot-starter since General manager Farhan Zaidi had been after the pitcher since Zaidi left Oakland, but after a decidedly “meh” performance for two months, Chavez didn’t really figure into the Dodgers’ 2017 plans.

2017 Status: Has already signed a 1-year, $5.75 million (plus up to $2.5 million in incentives) deal with the Angels. They have visions of him returning to the starting rotation, a role in which he had some success in 2014 and ’15.

About Dustin Nosler

Dustin Nosler
Dustin Nosler began writing about the Dodgers in July 2009 at his blog, Feelin' Kinda Blue. He co-hosts a weekly podcast with Jared Massey called Dugout Blues. He does contracts and depth charts for FanGraphs and is a contributor/editor at The Hardball Times. He graduated from California State University, Sacramento, with his bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in digital media. While at CSUS, he worked for the student-run newspaper The State Hornet for three years, culminating with a one-year term as editor-in-chief. He resides in Stockton, California, and has yet to be shot.