Cubs fans dreaming of a Jesse Chavez reunion in Chicago are not happy.
The veteran swingman is in agreement to return to the Texas Rangers — the team the Cubs acquired him from in July — on a 2-year, $8 million deal:
Sources: Right-hander Jesse Chavez and the Texas Rangers are in agreement on a two-year deal in the $8 million range. @Feinsand had the sides close on a deal.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) November 27, 2018
That's a good get for the 35-year-old journeyman to capitalize on a career season. (For perspective, his career earnings sit at only a little over $14 million, according to Baseball Reference.)
When the Cubs traded for Chavez on July 19, the move was touted as a depth add, giving manager Joe Maddon a versatile option in the bullpen as a guy who could pitch to one batter, toss multiple innings or even make a spot start if need be.
Chavez wound up becoming so much more, earning the role as the Cubs' most trusted reliever by the final weekend of the season (when both Brandon Morrow and Pedro Strop were hurt) and endeared himself to the fanbase in the process.
In 39 innings with the Cubs across 32 appearances, Chavez posted a 1.15 ERA (which ranked second in baseball) with a sparkling 0.795 WHIP and 42 strikeouts. He also saved 4 games despite coming over to the Cubs with only 3 saves in his entire 11-year career prior.
Chavez obviously wouldn't post a 1.15 ERA forever, but he still could've been a great fit for the Cubs 2019 bullpen with his versatility and extreme strike-throwing approach.
Financial crunch or not, $8 million over 2 years was probably more than what Theo Epstein's front office was willing to hand out in a deal — especially to a 35-year-old — when reliever's performances are so fickle from year-to-year. But the Cubs are certainly still searching for ways to improve on their bullpen for the 2019 campaign, as they currently have Pedro Strop and Steve Cishek as trustworthy options plus Brandon Morrow (injury risk), Mike Montgomery (if he's not needed in the rotation), Carl Edwards Jr. (searching for a rebound from a late-season fade) and a pair of veterans aiming to prove 2018 was just a down year (Brandon Kintzler, Brian Duensing).
In the hours after the Cubs' 13-inning loss to the Colorado Rockies in the NL Wild-Card Game, Chavez reportedly told his teammates he badly wanted to return to Chicago:
Jesse Chavez just told a few of his teammates "If I'm not wearing this next year –points to Cubs logo on shirt– I'm done." https://t.co/1dnrmmrhIz— Marly Rivera (@MarlyRiveraESPN) October 3, 2018
Of course, that was an emotional moment and once the dust settles, money talks more than anything else for most free agents.
Cubs fans, however, were not happy with the news:
Damn. https://t.co/SXvlKTBLdY— Silvy (@WaddleandSilvy) November 27, 2018
Um cubs?— Michael Cornelius (@OlPally86) November 27, 2018
Jesse Chavez is no longer a Cub and we are no longer Cubs fans. This cannot be forgiven. #Donuts— The Original Donut Bros (@ilprepbullseye) November 27, 2018
Some were more reserved in their disappointment:
Pretty bummed that Jesse Chavez isn't coming back the #Cubs next year, not going to lie. *kicks pebble*— Sara Sanchez ⚾🇺🇸⚽️ (@BCB_Sara) November 27, 2018
While some didn't hold back in the slightest: