The Chicago Cubs have added some bullpen depth for the stretch run by acquiring right-hander Jesse Chavez from the Texas Rangers in exchange for pitching prospect Tyler Thomas, the team announced Thursday.
Chavez joined the Rangers on a one-year, $1-million contract this offseason, and to date has turned in his best season since 2014. The 34-year-old appeared in 30 games for Texas and owns a 3.51 ERA and 1.24 WHIP while tallying 50 strikeouts and 12 walks.
It's possible Chavez could start for the Cubs given his past experience in that role, starting 21-plus games in four of the past five seasons. But it's also possible he'll continue to work in relief. The Cubs are currently missing closer Brandon Morrow, who landed on the disabled list before Thursday's game, depleting their bullpen depth for the time being.
"Good arm. Versatile. Could start or relieve," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said when asked about Chavez by Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune following his team's win on Thursday.
For his career, Chavez has appeared in 383 games (70 starts) and owns a 36-52 record with a 4.61 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, and 705 strikeouts. The Cubs will be his ninth major-league team in 11 seasons.
Going to the Rangers is Thomas, a 22-year-old left-hander who was the Cubs' seventh-round draft pick in 2017. The Fresno State product has spent this season pitching at Single-A South Bend, where he's posted a 2.88 ERA and 0.96 WHIP while striking out 81 batters and walking only 14 across 15 appearances (14 starts).
Texas announced Thomas will be assigned to Single-A Hickory.