The Rockies are expected to sign right-hander Jhoulys Chacín to a major league contract, reports Thomas Harding of MLB.com (Twitter link). He’ll be on the Opening Day roster. Nick Groke of the Athletic noted earlier this evening Chacín was throwing in front of Rockies’ brass.
Chacín is returning to the place where his career began. The right-hander signed with the Rockies as an international amateur in 2004 and made his MLB debut with Colorado five years later. Chacín went on to perform as a durable, effective rotation piece for a few seasons in Denver. Between 2010-14, he tossed 661 innings of 3.76 ERA/4.01 FIP ball, no small feat in the hitter-friendly confines of Coors Field. He has been something of a nomad in the years since, appearing in the majors for the Diamondbacks, Braves (two separate stints), Angels, Padres, Brewers and Red Sox.
As recently as 2018, Chacín was arguably the Brewers’ most productive starter. Leaning on his slider almost half the time, he tossed 192.2 innings of 3.50 ERA/4.59 SIERA ball. His 2019 season was a disaster, though, as he slumped to a 6.01 ERA/4.94 SIERA. Chacín only threw five innings last season.
Chacín spent the most recent Spring Training in camp with the Yankees on a minor-league deal. He pitched well but couldn’t carve out a role in a high-upside New York rotation. The Yankees granted Chacín his release earlier this week, and he quickly found a guaranteed job in Colorado.
The Rockies’ rotation looks to be the strength of the roster, although it’s not completely without opportunity. Germán Márquez will take the ball on Opening Day, and he’s likely to be followed by Antonio Senzatela, Jon Gray and Austin Gomber. Fellow projected starter Kyle Freeland will begin the year on the injured list with a shoulder strain. Chi Chi González had looked like the favorite to open the year in the rotation’s fifth spot, but it appears that role will go to Chacín.
Chacín’s signing is also the Rockies’ first major league free agent contract of the offseason. Colorado had been the only team in the league not to hand out a guaranteed deal this winter, but they’ll get on the board the day before the season opener.