What sort of human has their best season ERA of their career at 39 years of age? Jesse Chavez, that’s who. Uncle Jesse has played all over:
- Pirates, 2008 and 2009
- Braves and Royals, 2010
- Royals, 2011
- Blue Jays and A’s, 2012
- A’s, 2013, 2014, 2015
- Blue Jays Dodgers, 2016
- Angels, 2017
- Angels, Rangers, and Cubs, 2018
- Rangers, 2019 and 2020
- Braves, 2021
- Cubs, Angels, and Braves 2022
- Braves 2023
9 different teams spanning 14 years, Chavez is a man well traveled but I’ve got a feeling that his traveling days are done and that he’ll either find his way back to the Braves or retire. Chavez, now 40, carried his best ERA to date in 2023, with a 1.56 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP over 34.2 innings. He was a steady presence in the bullpen for the first 2.5 months of the season before injury struck: a micro-fracture in his left shin courtesy of a 99 MPH line drive hit by Miguel Cabrera.
At that point, it looked like it would be a standard IL stint of 15 days and back at it, but the news kept getting worse. After the 15 days, Chavez could not put any weight on his left leg. Time went by…1 week, 2, 3, 4, and finally after the 5th week, Anthopoulos transferred Chavez to the 60-day IL. After a 3 month IL stint, Chavez took to the mound again on September 20th and was just as effective as he was before the injury. Unfortunately, Chavez was left off the NLDS roster, in what was likely to be health reasons, and we all know the rest.
Over the years, it’s apparent that the Braves like Chavez in the bullpen and Chavez likes playing for the Braves. Like Charlie Morton, who will also be 40 in 2024, Chavez, as long as he’s effective, will have a spot in the Braves bullpen as long as he can pitching meaningful innings.