Lefty Reliever Andrew Chafin Returning to Cubs on MLB Deal

According to Zach Buchanan of The Athletic, lefty reliever Andrew Chafin has agreed to return to the Cubs on a major league deal. The 30-year-old was injured when the Cubs acquired him from the Diamondbacks and only made only four appearances as a result, all in the last week of the season.

He faced 12 batters over three innings, giving up one run on two hits and a walk while striking out three. Chafin’s fastball sat at 93-94 mph, right in line with the last few years, and his slider worked well in limited action. If he’s able to limit the walks and induce more grounders, he could resume his role as a workhorse who made 71 or more appearances in each of the three previous full seasons.

According to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand, Chafin’s deal is for a guaranteed $2.75 million. He will earn $2.25 million this season with a mutual $5.25 million option for 2022 that comes with a $500,000 buyout. He also has $500,000 in incentives that can be reached in $125,000 increments by making 50, 55, 60, and 65 appearances. All told, this is significantly larger than what Sean Doolittle got from the Reds earlier Tuesday.

It’s also a lot more than I’d have expected the Cubs to spend on a reliever, so I have to think this signals a willingness to spend elsewhere. Maybe, say, Kolten Wong. The second baseman doesn’t appear to be heading toward a reunion with the Cardinals and he’d be a great fit with the Cubs. But if this is just a stand-alone move, it seems like a really big expenditure for a team that has been very frugal so far.

Whether it ends up being worth it or not, at least The Sheriff and his handlebar mustache at least brings some serious Rod Beck vibes to the bullpen.

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