The Tigers are reportedly in settlement with left-hander Andrew Chafin on a one-year deal that features a membership possibility for the 2025 season, in response to Evan Petzold of the Detroit Free Press. Petzold goes on to note that the contract comes with a $4.25M base wage in 2024 that would attain $6.5M with incentives. The membership possibility, value $6.5M, may attain $7.75M with incentives and comes with a $500K buyout, elevating the contract’s complete assure to $4.75M.
It’s a reunion for the veteran lefty, who pitched in 64 video games with the Tigers in 2022. Chafin, 34 in June, was a first-round choose by the Diamondbacks within the 2011 draft and made his massive league debut not lengthy after in 2014. He’d go on to play in Arizona for six-and-a-half seasons as a stable left-handed center aid possibility, pitching to a 3.74 ERA in 306 innings of labor with the Diamondbacks earlier than being shipped to the Cubs on the commerce deadline in 2020. Throughout his time in Arizona, Chafin struck out 25.8% of batters confronted whereas routinely posting groundball charges north of fifty%. The lefty’s 2020 season was restricted by damage woes to simply 9 2/3 innings, however that didn’t cease Chicago from retaining him on the roster heading into the 2021 season.
2021 proved to be a breakout season for Chafin, who dominated in 43 appearances with the Cubs as one of many membership’s main set-up males to Craig Kimbrel alongside Ryan Tepera. Early within the 2021 season, Chafin mixed with Tepera, Kimbrel and beginning pitcher Zach Davies to no-hit the Dodgers for the primary mixed no-no in Cubs historical past. Whereas Chafin helped to make historical past in Chicago, it wound up being little greater than a footnote in his dominant 2021 marketing campaign. The southpaw’s 24.7% strikeout price and 50% groundball price with the Cubs that yr produced a formidable 2.06 ERA and a pair of.69 FIP. Upon a midseason commerce to Oakland, Chafin unlocked one other gear, posting a microscopic 1.53 ERA in 29 1/3 innings down the stretch to deliver his total season ERA down to simply 1.83 over 68 2/3 innings of labor. That efficiency was good for a whopping 229 ERA+.
Chafin’s sturdy 2021 marketing campaign earned him a two-year assure in Detroit that included an opt-out after the primary yr of the deal. Although not as dominant as his 2021 marketing campaign, Chafin put up sturdy numbers for the Tigers in 2022 with a 2.83 ERA and three.06 FIP throughout 57 1/3 innings of labor. His strikeout price ticked as much as 27.6% whereas he induced grounders 51.3% of the time. The stable efficiency backed up by glorious peripherals persuaded Chafin to decide out of the ultimate yr and $6.5M of his contract in Detroit final offseason. That call in the end didn’t go properly, as Chafin signed along with his authentic staff in Arizona for simply $6.25MM assured final yr after lingering on the free-agent market till mid-February.
The veteran lefty went on to battle in 2023, posting a 4.73 ERA and 4.01 FIP throughout 51 1/3 innings of labor break up between the Diamondbacks and Brewers final yr. Chafin’s 28.1% strikeout price was nearly as good as ever, however he generated a groundball price of simply 38.5% whereas strolling a career-high 12.5% of batters confronted. Regardless of Chafin’s struggles in his age-33 season final yr, the signing may show sensible for a Tigers membership that was identified to be interested in adding a lefty reliever to its bullpen ought to he discover a strategy to both lower down on the walks or rediscover the proclivity for grounders he demonstrated lately.