Right-handed starter Jhoulys Chacin is signing with the Minnesota Twins, according to Jon Heyman and Robert Murray. Heyman reports that it will be a minor league deal, but that Chacin is expected to make the team.
Chacin, 35, spent a rough 2019 with the Brewers and the Red Sox. The new super-ball was unkind to him. He posted an ugly 6.01 ERA over 103.1 innings, largely fueled by a decline in ground ball rate and a stunning 21% of his fly balls leaving the yard, as well as a slight increase in walks. That came on the heels of two strong campaigns with the Padres and Milwaukee, so the Twins are hoping that Chacin can return to form and provide some innings in the back of their rotation.
Minnesota has already added Homer Bailey and Rich Hill to their starting mix this offseason, in addition to bringing back the resurgent Michael Pineda. Hill will likely start the season on the IL and Pineda has the remainder of a PED suspension to serve, so Rocco Baldelli’s club will take all the innings Chacin can give them. Chacin will be contending with hurlers like Randy Dobnak, Devin Smeltzer, Brusdar Graterol (a top prospect who may wind up in the bullpen) and Lewis Thorpe for a job in camp.
All in all, it’s a solid upside play for Minnesota. If Chacin can recapture what he had in 2017 and 2018, great. If not, he’s a decent swingman option, or they could simply cut bait and go to one of their depth guys. The big pitching acquisition many Twins fans were hoping for never materialized, but this is one of those little moves that smart teams make. You can do a lot worse for a non-roster invitee lottery ticket than Chacin.
Note: An earlier version of this article said that Chacin is left-handed. Obviously, he is right-handed. Nick will be sent to bed without dessert.