The Brewers reportedly had multiple offers out on free agent pitching during last week's Winter Meetings. It looks like one of those offers is now close to being agreed to.
Ken Rosenthal says the team is nearing a deal with veteran starter Jhoulys Chacin.
#Brewers close to agreement with free-agent RHP Jhoulys Chacin, sources tell The Athletic.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 20, 2017
Chacin spent last year with the San Diego Padres, trying to rebuild his value after a difficult 2016 season that saw him pitch for the Braves and Angels. He did just that in 2017, putting up a 3.89 ERA (4.26 FIP) and 106 ERA+ in 32 starts, striking out 153 in 180 innings. He did struggle with control at times, walking 3.6 per 9 innings and hitting a league-leading 14 batters. He faced the Brewers once in 2017, holding them to 1 run on 2 hits over 7 innings and striking out 8 in what ended up being a 3-1 Brewers win. While not a frontline starter, he’s the kind of solid option that would be nice to have around the back end of the rotation, especially while the Brewers bide their time waiting for Jimmy Nelson to return.
As with a lot of Padre pitchers, though, that overall success may come with some caveats. Chacin had a 1.79 ERA in 16 starts at Petco Park and a 6.53 ERA on the road, allowing an .851 OPS outside of San Diego. If you're looking for reassurance, though, the career home/away splits (3.65 ERA in home starts, 4.27 ERA in away starts) are a little more encouraging -- especially when you consider he's spent most of his career at Coors Field.
While Chacin won't strike out as many batters as he did in his first few seasons in the league, he has been among the league leaders in allowing weak contact -- something that could play very well in Miller Park. He forced groundballs on 49.1% of balls in play last year, and his groundball rate is at 48.3% for his career. More than 20% of the contact he allowed last year was classified as weak, ranking him 20th among all pitchers in baseball -- just ahead of Jake Arrieta, who's been linked to the Brewers multiple times this offseason, and Zach Davies.
It feels like Chacin has been around forever, since he made his MLB debut back in 2009 as a 21-year-old for the Colorado Rockies. He was a longtime fixture in the Rockies' rotation until shoulder problems brought an end to his tenure in Denver and saw him bounce around until settling in San Diego. Despite being a 9-year veteran, he'll only be 30 years old for the 2018 season and could still have a few good years left.
Potential terms for the deal haven't been announced yet.
Jerry Crasnick has the details of the offer — 2 years, $16 million total.
Jhoulys Chacin's 2-year deal with the #Brewers is for close to $8M per year, source says.— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) December 20, 2017
Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference and Fangraphs