Athletics Receive: RHP Liam Hendriks
Blue Jays Receive: RHP Jesse Chavez
On the Blue Jays: Chavez had a breakout season in 2014 when he was converted to a starter. In 2014, he pitched to a 3.42 ERA and struck out 8.4 hitters per nine innings. Chavez’s production took a slight downturn in 2015 as he pitched to an ERA of 4.18. He still was able to maintain a good strike out rate of 7.8 K’s per nine innings. He was also a durable starting pitcher making 26 starts last season. Chavez is an interesting pitcher because he doesn’t have flashy stuff but has a good strikeout rate. His fastball sits in the high 80’s and sometimes he cranks it up to the low 90’s. He has a pretty good command of the strike size, walking an average of 3.1 batters per nine innings in his career. But it’s still interesting that he able to get as many strikeouts as he does because of his lack of electric stuff. Chavez does not allow a lot of homers, but pitching in the Oakland Coliseum always gives the pitcher an extreme advantage. His home and road splits were also extremely different in 2015. He pitched to a 3.38 ERA at home, but pitched to a 4.92 ERA on the road. He let up a similar amount of home runs, but he is leaving one of the most pitcher friendly parks for a stadium that is much more susceptible to the home run ball. Overall, I am not a big fan of this acquisition because I think that Chavez has been helped from pitching in Oakland, and there is a track record of pitchers leaving Oakland and not performing to the level of how they did in the past. The Blue Jays already re-signed starter Marco Estrada, but they still need to either bring back David Price or sign another frontline starting pitcher if they want to get back to the playoffs next season. I don’t think Chavez is going to thrive in Toronto and I don’t see him being as reliable as he has been the past couple of seasons in Oakland.
On the Athletics: The Oakland bullpen, which has been a strength of the team in recent years, was a major weakness of the team in 2015. The A’s run differential was only -35, and traded away one of their few productive relievers in Tyler Clippard to the Mets this past January. The A’s will hopefully have closer Sean Doolittle back at full strength next season and Hendricks can be the set up man. Hendriks had a great season last year. He pitched to a 2.92 ERA and had a strikeout rate of 9.9 per nine innings. Hendriks has a premier fastball in the mid 90’s that he throws in any count. His secondary pitches are average, but he does have good control of his pitches, walking only 1.5 batters over nine innings in 2015. I expect more of the same from the 26 year-old next season. I also really like the move for Oakland because Hendriks is under team control until 2020, while Chavez is going to be a free agent next year. Hendrik’s represents a quality bullpen arm for the A’s that will command a low salary for the next couple years. I think Oakland did very well in this trade getting value for a low-end starting pitcher on the last year of his deal, while shedding salary at the same time.