Red Sox Rumors: Jhoulys Chacin a potential late-season signing
By Sean Penney
Jhoulys Chacin reportedly worked out for the Boston Red Sox this week and the free agent right-hander could be a late addition to the rotation.
Who says you can’t add pitching in August anymore? The trade deadline is long gone but pitching can still be found this late in the season on the free agent market. The Boston Red Sox will leave no stone unturned as they seek a viable fifth starter to solidify their rotation.
That has them kicking the tires on right-handed pitcher Jhoulys Chacin, who was recently released by the Milwaukee Brewers. According to Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald, Chacin threw a bullpen session for the Red Sox in Anaheim prior to their game against the Angels.
It’s unclear if the Red Sox intend to sign Chacin but he has the potential to fill a need. Nathan Eovaldi is back in the rotation and David Price returns from the injured list this weekend but they will soon need a fifth starter with scheduled off days becoming more sporadic down the stretch.
Boston acquired Andrew Cashner at the trade deadline to fill the back of the rotation void but he was quickly banished to the bullpen after a few dreadful performances. Brian Johnson has taken his place in the rotation but he hasn’t made it through four innings in any of his five appearances this month and he owns a 7.20 ERA over that span.
Would Chacin be an upgrade? Not based on what we saw this year. He went 3-10 with a 5.79 ERA, 1.55 WHIP, and 4.0 BB/9 in 19 starts before the Brewers released him despite their own questionable rotation depth.
Chacin has dealt with various injuries that may have played a part in the worst season of his career. If he’s deemed healthy and if the Red Sox were impressed by how he threw the ball in his bullpen session, it’s hardly a stretch to believe the 31-year old can rediscover his form from the previous two seasons when he went 28-18 with a 3.69 ERA and 1.21 WHIP.
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Granted, both years were spent in the National League without the threat of the designated hitter. His 2017 season was spent in pitcher-friendly Petco Park with the San Diego Padres and his home/road splits brought a fair amount of skepticism to his success. Chacin posted a stellar 1.79 ERA at Petco that season but owned a disastrous 6.53 ERA on the road. His 4.14 FIP over the last two seasons is further evidence that he wasn’t pitching quite as well as his ERA suggests.
The Red Sox don’t necessarily need Chacin to pitch as well as he has in recent seasons. They need someone at the back of the rotation who can eat innings to prevent the bullpen from being burned out every fifth day. Chacin has lasted at least five innings in 12 of his 19 starts this season. Johnson has done that once for the Red Sox this season and there aren’t many viable alternatives to be found internally who can be trusted to handle a starter’s workload.
It’s not a great sign that a Brewers team fighting for a postseason spot and struggling to fill their own rotation gave up on Chacin. Perhaps a change of scenery will do him some good. There’s little risk in taking a chance on him since the Brewers are on the hook for his $6 million salary.
He’s not going to be the difference-maker that decides if the Red Sox will make the playoffs or not but Chacin could potentially be useful. If nothing else, if he acclimates well to his new environment and performs suitably enough, Chacin could be re-signed for cheap to fill a rotation spot next season.