Braves prove they’re playing 4D chess by bringing back familiar face

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The Atlanta Braves are bringing back relief pitcher Jesse Chavez after the Los Angeles Angels placed him on waivers

In his most impactful time in an Atlanta Braves uniform, Jesse Chavez played a versatile and important role in the Braves capturing the 2021 World Series, starting and finishing a game in the National League Championship Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers as part of 6.1 scoreless postseason innings.

The 39-year-old right-hander earned his ring, then signed as a free agent with the Chicago Cubs once the MLB lockout ended.

Chavez was reunited with the Braves in April after a trade that sent Sean Newcomb to the Cubs. It was the first of two trades that Chavez would be a part of this season, with the Braves flipping him and Tucker Davidson to the Los Angeles Angels for Raisel Iglesias just before the MLB trade deadline.

But now, after being waived in Los Angeles, he’s headed back to Truist Park.

How a long and winding road led Jesse Chavez back to the Atlanta Braves

“There wasn’t anybody in that clubhouse who wanted to see Jesse go,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said at the time. “He’s been such a big part of what we’ve done the past couple years. You have to give up something, but we hate to give up Jesse because he’s just an unbelievable guy.”

The trade to the Angels did not serve Chavez well as he posted a 7.59 ERA/4.81 FIP/1.781 WHIP in 10.2 innings over 11 games with the Halos before being placed on waivers.

Seeing the opportunity, the Braves pounced on bringing Chavez back into the fold.

“He was throwing really well when we traded him,” Snitker said on Tuesday before the Braves opened a three-game series at home against the Colorado Rockies. “Every time he has been through here and been a part of this club, you like having a guy who is that versatile and can cover innings and pitch any time in the game. I know that room in there feels like that’s one of the greatest teammates you’ll ever have on top of that.

“He’s done a really good job for us and I’m happy to get him back.”

Iglesias has performed incredibly well for the Braves since the trade, posting a 0.84 ERA/2.56 FIP/0.844 WHIP in 10.2 innings covering 12 games. The swap has been a boost for Atlanta, especially considering they will soon have Chavez, who many consider to be the key piece of the deal, back in the bullpen as well.

Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos made the right moves at last season’s MLB trade deadline to push Atlanta to the World Series title. Will this be a move that will boost the Braves in a similar way once the 2022 postseason begins?

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