MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers have reportedly made another veteran addition to their starting pitching mix.With confirmation of the Yovani Gallardo deal still forthcoming, on Wednesday news broke of a two-year deal with free-agent right-hander Jhoulys Chacin. The veteran Chacin turns 30 in January and is coming off a solid season
MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers have reportedly made another veteran addition to their starting pitching mix.
With confirmation of the Yovani Gallardo deal still forthcoming, on Wednesday news broke of a two-year deal with free-agent right-hander Jhoulys Chacin. The veteran Chacin turns 30 in January and is coming off a solid season with the Padres. MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal first reported that the sides were in agreement, and ESPN's Jerry Crasnick added that it's a two-year deal that guarantees about $8 million per season.
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The Brewers didn't comment on the reports because, like Gallardo, Chacin would have to pass a physical before the contract is official.
Chacin has been a journeyman in recent years, after spending his first six Major League seasons with the Rockies from 2009-14. Since then, he's been employed by the D-backs, Braves, Angels and Padres, and is coming off a 3.89 ERA in 32 starts for San Diego while earning $1.75 million in 2017.
Chacin was the Padres' Opening Day starter and set career highs for starts and strikeouts (153) thanks in part to a rejuvenated fastball, which averaged 91.4 mph, according to Statcast™ -- his best average velocity since 2011. Chacin's 1.27 WHIP was his best mark since 2013, when he went 14-10 with a 3.47 ERA in Colorado.
The question is whether Chacin's stuff will translate to hitter-friendly Miller Park. Chacin was 9-3 with a 1.79 ERA and a .549 OPS against in 16 starts last season at Petco Park, which favors pitchers. In 16 starts on the road, he was 4-7 with a 6.53 ERA and an .851 OPS against.
However, those splits don't tell the whole story. Statcast™'s expected weighted on-base average metric (xwOBA) is based on the quality of contact made, plus actual strikeouts and walks, helping to strip out factors such as park effects and defense. While Chacin significantly outperformed the .287 xwOBA he allowed at home, he also significantly underperformed the .320 xwOBA he allowed on the road.
Despite some ugly surface-level numbers away from Petco Park, that .320 xwOBA was slightly better than the MLB average of .322 for road starting pitchers in 2017.
The Brewers have been hunting starting pitchers on the free-agent and trade markets all offseason. Their top starter, Jimmy Nelson, will miss at least the first several months of 2018 following surgery for a torn labrum in his right shoulder. That makes Chase Anderson and Zach Davies Milwaukee's top returning starters, with Brent Suter, Brandon Woodruff, 2017 Opening Day starter Junior Guerra and five-time Opening Day starter Gallardo among those competing for other spots in Nelson's absence.
Fantasy spin | Fred Zinkie (@FredZinkieMLB)
Although Chacin recorded stark home-road splits en route to posting an overall 3.89 ERA last season, he may have found a sustainable recipe for success at any venue by maintaining a low hard-hit rate (28.5 percent in '17) and a heavy ground-ball lean (lifetime 48.3 percent). While the right-hander is unlikely to earn consideration in 10-team leagues due to his career 7.1 K/9 rate, he could be a useful spot starter in 12-team formats and a lineup regular in 15-team settings.
Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook.