Blue Jays swap Hendriks for A's Chavez
TORONTO -- The Blue Jays have been in the market for starting pitching, and their offseason shopping continued Friday night as they acquired right-hander Jesse Chavez in a trade with Oakland.
Right-handed reliever Liam Hendriks went to Oakland as part of the deal. Chavez made 30 appearances -- 26 starts -- for the A's in 2015 and likely will compete for a job in the rotation while also remaining a possibility for the bullpen.
Chavez went 7-15 with a 4.18 ERA over 157 innings for Oakland in 2015. He was better the year before with a career-best 3.45 ERA while striking out 136 over 146 innings. Chavez made nine appearances for the Blue Jays in 2012 before eventually joining the A's.
At first glance, it appears likely that Chavez will have a similar role to the one that right-hander Marco Estrada had earlier this year. Chavez likely will receive an opportunity to compete for a spot in the rotation, and at the very least he'll serve as a swingman out of the bullpen.
Toronto currently has Marcus Stroman, Estrada and R.A. Dickey in the rotation, but the final two jobs are up for grabs. Drew Hutchison, Aaron Sanchez, Roberto Osuna and Chavez are early candidates, and the Blue Jays are expected to pursue further upgrades through trades and free agency.
Hendriks got dealt after his breakout season in the bullpen. He was a surprise addition to the team at the end of Spring Training, but he responded by posting a 2.92 ERA over 64 2/3 innings as the club's long reliever and occasional setup man.
A move from the rotation to the bullpen helped turn Hendriks' career around. He had several disappointing seasons as a starter, but the velocity on his fastball jumped from the low 90s to the 96-97 range as a reliever. Hendriks remained on the roster for the entire year but wasn't used in a lot of high-leverage situations, which is something that might change in Oakland.
Chavez made $2.15 million in 2015, and he's arbitrational eligible for the third and final time this offseason. According to MLBTradeRumors, Chavez is projected to earn approximately $4.7 million through arbitration, while Hendriks is set to earn slightly more than $500,000.