Chafin excited to join A's: 'I like the green'

Reliever acquired from Cubs in midst of especially strong season

July 28th, 2021

SAN DIEGO -- hasn’t met all of his new A’s teammates yet, but he already identified something he likes about his new team.

“I like the green,” he said Tuesday at Petco Park following a session of shagging fly balls during batting practice and putting some names to faces.

Oakland acquired Chafin, a left-handed reliever in the midst of his best Major League season, from the Cubs on Monday night in exchange for two Minor Leaguers: outfielder Greg Deichmann and right-hander Daniel Palencia.

The A’s were enjoying an off-day when the trade came together, but Chafin and the Cubs were playing the Reds. The 31-year-old veteran of eight big league seasons said he learned about the trade during the game via an update ticker on TV. Chafin didn’t know where he was headed, only that he had to pack.

“I was kind of on edge to see where I was going,” Chafin said. “It’s kind of weird to be traded. You get so used to what you’re doing day to day -- now you’re going to get on an airplane and go play for somebody else. OK.”

And once Chafin learned he’d be joining the A’s?

“I’m excited to be here,” he said. “Go out, give ’em hell and have fun with it.”

A’s manager Bob Melvin didn’t commit to a specific role for Chafin while noting that there are no thoughts of loosening Lou Trivino’s grip on the ninth inning. It’s clear, however, that if Chafin pitches as effectively with Oakland as he did with Chicago, he’ll see plenty of high-leverage and late-inning situations.

In 43 games with the Cubs this year, Chafin had a 2.06 ERA and a career-best 196 ERA+. He allowed only 4.8 hits per nine innings, by far the lowest rate of his career. Chafin is throwing his sinker 46.2% of the time, per Statcast -- more than he has in any season since 2016 -- and having great success with it (.196 opponents’ batting average).

But Chafin attributes his success to a pitch by another name.

“Strike one,” he said. "Getting ahead of hitters, being able to dictate what I’m going to do during that at-bat vs. what I need to do if I get behind in the count. I’ve been just overall more aggressive in attacking hitters.”

Chafin joined the A’s on Monday as they held just a one-game lead over Seattle for the second American League Wild Card spot. Whether Chafin gets key outs in the postseason chase over the next two months will play out on the field, but Melvin likes how the trade already has played out in the clubhouse.

“When you’ve got 60 games left and you’re in position to make the postseason, it’s great when you add,” Melvin said. “… Whether we’re done or not [making trades], I’m not sure. But this is a nice addition for us.”