MLB hot stove: Rangers reportedly sign free agent Jesse Chavez to two-year, $8 million deal

On Tuesday, the Texas Rangers signed right-hander Jesse Chavez to a two-year, $8 million deal, according the Dallas Morning News. The team has yet to confirm.

The Rangers finished the 2018 season in last place in the American League West with a 67-95 record, and fired their manager Jeff Banister in September. Earlier this month, the Rangers announced former Los Angeles Dodgers third base coach Chris Woodward as new manager. Now that the Rangers decided on a replacement, finding some starting pitchers — really anyone who can contribute to their staff in 2019 — jumps to the top of their priority list.

“We’re going to have to be active this off-season on the acquisition front,” general manager Jon Daniels told Jeff Wilson of the Star-Telegram back in September. “We’ll consider a couple different options there, and I think we’ll look at other ways of constructing the pitching staff. A little less traditional where we can get the most out of the group and put guys into position to succeed.”

Chavez started the 2018 season with Texas before being traded to the Cubs in July. He posted a combined 2.55 ERA and 1.06 WHIP across 95.1 innings with both teams. He notched four saves while posting a 1.15 ERA, 0.80 WHIP and 42:5 K:BB ratio across 39 innings for the Cubs. He ranked second in the majors in relief innings last year with 95.1 in a season split between the Rangers and the Cubs. His 2.55 ERA was the third-lowest by a reliever with at least 90 innings in the last 10 years.

With the Chavez signing, the Rangers add some versatility to a pitching staff that struggled for much of the 2018 season. He can start for Texas, but he can also be used in plenty of nontraditional roles. The 35-year-old has already pitched a chunk of multi-inning relief stints so there could be an opportunity for the Rangers to have Chavez help bridge the gap between starters and their star closer Jose Leclerc. 

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