Jesse Chavez has been traded a few times, playing for nine teams in 15 big-league seasons. But even he had never been traded as early as April.
Well, until this year.
“I’m used to bouncing around pretty frequently, but that one kind of caught me off guard,” said Chavez of the Cubs dealing him to the Braves two months ago.
As much as that move came as a surprise, Chavez came out on top. He returned to Wrigley Friday with an Atlanta team riding a 14-game winning streak and again is a key piece in the Braves bullpen.
The Cubs entered the day 23-40 and losers of 10 straight games.
Chavez, who helped the Braves win the World Series in 2021, entered Friday with a 2.49 ERA in 18 appearances for the Braves, with 24 strikeouts and just three walks in 21 2/3 innings.
Said Chavez: “Being able to come back [to Atlanta], where I was at last year and the familiarity with the coaches and the catchers, players in the clubhouse.
“Nothing against the Cubs, but it's good to come back here and be where I was at last year.”
Chavez was expected to play a valuable role as a multi-inning arm in the 2022 Cubs bullpen after returning to Chicago on a minor-league deal in March.
He got off to a slow start, allowing four runs and seven hits in his first three appearances. The Cubs traded him Atlanta April 20 for lefty Sean Newcomb.
The Cubs designated Newcomb for assignment last week.
Chavez learned he was being traded during the Cubs’ game against the Rays that day. He equated it to when the Rangers traded him to the Cubs during the All-Star break in 2018, and he found out right after getting off a plane.
“That was kind of sketchy, that was kind of weird,” Chavez said of the timing of trade back to Atlanta. “I thought something happened with the family, first and foremost. You get pulled out of the bullpen for something.
“But things happen, I get it. … They had to make moves, and I wasn't a guy at the time.”