Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports
In theory, yes.
Okay, seriously now, remember this article?
"The Oakland Athletics have baseball’s worst record. The A’s could make left-hander Scott Kazmir available, although the Dodgers also could be interested in right-hander Jesse Chavez. The A’s and Dodgers had trade talks last off-season about Chavez, who is 1-4 with a 2.89 ERA."
Huh. That’s interesting, and also seemingly meaningless, considering that there was a reason the trade never got done, and it’s only one report in one article from one beat writer. Regardless that trade (or something of that nature) makes sense on two fronts, the Dodgers need pitching, and Jesse Chavez is a pretty good pitcher that isn’t really known by anybody outside of the bay area.
Chavez, of course, was the definition of a career journeyman, toiling around in the majors/minors, he debuted in 2008 and never pitched more than 70 innings in his first 5 seasons, while being worth -2.8 rWAR. But like many other former middling pitchers, he signed with the Oakland A’s and became a useful swingman for the club. All he’s done in the 266 innings as a member of that team is post a 111 ERA+ and a 3.46 FIP. This year, he’s upped everything, he’s got a 184 ERA+ mixed with a 2.65 FIP, so at worst, he’s been a valuable member on a team bereft of valuable players.
The question is, why single him out specifically other than an article loosely tying Chavez and the Dodgers together? Well, this:
At around the 6 minute mark, a caller asks about the team’s pitching depth and whether they’ll start to look outside of the organization, and Friedman gave an intriguing answer.
"pitching depth for us was front and center on our to do with even starting in the middle of October… we had lots of conversations over the winter some that materialized some that didn’t… we had a lot in spring training, we have kinda dusted some of those off more recently and followed up with some teams, but things really pick up after the draft… once that passes, conversations tend to really pick up between the teams…"
That’s certainly more than you’d normally get from the team’s President of Baseball Operations on an Edward Jones chatting cage program, and anything that a member of this front office says should definitely be taken with a mound of salt, but this passes the sniff test, and assuming that you believe the Shaikin report, this is an intriguing possibility.
Chavez is obviously not in the upper tier of pitchers to go after. He has solid run prevention figures to go along with the peripherals this season, but he’s also a swingman who has relieved far more often than he’s started, and he’s never tossed more than 130 innings in a single season as a SP. Considering that last season, his final start came on July 28th, the A’s might have taken his stamina into consideration when they acquired roughly 7 different starting pitchers last season. He only compiled one quality start in the month of July and while a 3.52 xFIP is far more promising than his 5.20 ERA, his history of not starting more than 21 games in a single season doesn’t help the thought that he’s a long term starter.
All that said, you could do worse than a pitcher who has good upside as a starter that has experience pitching out of the bullpen if the Dodgers decide to acquire an upper echelon starter. Chavez will also likely cost less than the traditional “proven options”, the Scott Kazmir’s, the Mike Leake’s, etc. The Dodgers will make a trade for a starting pitcher either this month or next, and given the report of the offseason trade talks with the A’s, General Manager, Farhan Zaidi’s propensity to acquire players who played for him, and Friedman’s recent remarks on their quest for pitching depth, Jesse Chavez makes as much sense as any pitcher available.