There are many things that make baseball special, but one of them is the game’s ability to make fan favorites and heroes out of inexplicable players.

Sometimes it’s the graying fourth/fifth outfielder with plastic swords. Sometimes it’s a pudgy pinch hitter who wears a panda head and hits clutch dingers. And sometimes it’s Jesse Chavez.

A lot of people might forget that 2022 wasn’t even a second run with Atlanta. It was actually his third – and eventually fourth – after the now-39-year-old reliever first came to the Braves for the 2010 season in a deal that sent closer Rafael Soriano to the Tampa Bay Rays.

Side bar: I tried to understand why the Braves would’ve made this deal. There are articles on the internet about it still, but it doesn’t make a whole ton of sense to me. Back to the main point we go.

Anyway, Chavez was not good for the Braves that time around, posting a 5.89 ERA and 1.418 WHIP in 28 appearances before getting shipped off to Kansas City in the trade that brought Rick Ankiel and Kyle Farnsworth to Atlanta.

Fast-forward a decade or so, and the man of the impressive hats comes back to Atlanta. He pitches a fairly solid season for the 2021 World Series champions, posting a 2.14 ERA and 1.010 WHIP in the regular season and 6 1/3 scoreless innings in the playoffs.

“But Jeremy,” you may be asking, “This article is supposed to be about 2022, I thought?”

It is, and I’m getting there. Settle down.

When the 2022 season began, Chavez signed with the Cubs but appeared in just three games before being traded to Atlanta for Sean Newcomb. The veteran righty struggled in Chicago, allowing four earned runs in just 5 2/3 innings, but that didn’t matter to the fanbase. World Series Champion Jesse Chavez was coming back to town, and he wasn’t going to disappoint.

In 31 games before the trade deadline, Chavez pitched 38 1/3 innings for the Braves with a 2.11 ERA, but his journey wasn’t complete. He got traded to the Angels for Raisel Iglesias – the list of names from Braves lore that he’s been traded for is getting quite impressive – but struggled to the tune of nine earned runs in 10 2/3 innings. The Angels released him, and Braves Country was treated to not one, but TWO Jesse Chavez returns in a single season.

This time Chavez was a little more human, posting a 4.30 ERA over 14 2/3 innings to close out the season. He also gave up a pair of runs in 3 1/3 innings of the Braves NLDS loss to the Phillies.

All of that is plenty of roster shenanigans for one man, but the Jesse Chavez Experience in Atlanta hasn’t reached its conclusion yet. When the Braves announced the non-roster invites for 2023 Spring Training recently, guess whose name was on it?

That’s right, in the midst of a bunch of prospects of various pedigrees and one Kevin Pillar, there’s Jesse Chavez. And who knows who he’ll get traded for next.