Jesse Chavez, RHP
Yes, that Jesse Chavez. After spending his year in Anaheim as a starting pitcher, Chavez has returned to the bullpen as he enters the second half of his 30’s, and it has paid off. Chavez did not start a single game last year, and had one of the lowest ERA’s in the NL after he was traded to the Cubs at the deadline.
Overall, Chavez was exceptional in 2018. It was arguably his best season to date, as his 2.55 ERA and career-high 5.41 strikeout-to-walk ratio were highlights for the San Gabriel native. He capped off his 2018 season by throwing one inning in the NL Wild Card Game against the Rockies. He allowed one hit, but still only faced the minimum three batters.
Projected contract: Two years, $7 million
While I’d love to tell you about the Angels signing Craig Kimbrel or Cody Allen, Billy Eppler made it clear the Angels will not be giving away big contracts for relievers this offseason. Jesse Chavez fits the bill of an undervalued free agent who can greatly help the Angels’ bullpen in 2019. While the rest of the MLB focuses on signing the big names in a legendary free agent class for relievers, the Angels can make a huge steal by swooping in early to sign Chavez.