Chavez credits a tweak he made in his delivery that produced a career-best 2.55 ERA and 1.06 WHIP in 2018, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports. While he was with the Rangers early in 2018, at the behest of pitching instructor Hector Ortiz, Chavez lowered his arm angle slightly and released the ball more like an infielder. This resulted in an uptick in velocity and more movement on his fastball. From that point until he was traded to the Cubs on July 19, the right-hander compiled a 2.31 ERA while holding hitters to a .215 batting average in 35 innings. The success continued with the Cubs, for whom he had a 1.15 ERA in 39 innings. Back with the Rangers in 2019, Chavez figures to be a key piece in the bullpen.
Chavez agreed to a two-year contract with the Rangers on Tuesday, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports. The deal is reportedly worth around $8 million, per Passan. Chavez opened the 2018 season with Texas before being dealt to the Cubs in July. He posted a combined 2.55 ERA and 1.06 WHIP across 95.1 innings with both teams, and was especially good after joining Chicago, notching four saves while posting a 1.15 ERA, 0.80 WHIP and 42:5 K:BB across 39 innings for the Cubs. While he likely won't dethrone Jose Leclerc as the Rangers' closer, Chavez will be pitching some of the team's highest-leverage innings out of the bullpen.
Chavez recorded the save in Thursday's 3-0 win over the Pirates. He allowed a hit and struck out one. After Justin Wilson blew a save opportunity Wednesday, the Cubs turned to Chavez in this one and got better results. The veteran righty has been a valuable addition to the Chicago bullpen, and he now has a solid 2.63 ERA this season along with five saves. Chavez figures to get some high-leverage work in the playoffs.
Chavez allowed two baserunners but pitched a scoreless 10th inning with two strikeouts to record the save in Thursday's win over the Nationals. With Pedro Strop getting used in the bottom of the ninth inning, Chavez got the call for the 10th with the Cubs up 6-4. The 35-year-old gave up a hit and a walk to get into some trouble, but he also struck out Washington sluggers Bryce Harper and Juan Soto. Chavez now has a strong 2.92 ERA this season, and he's been a welcome addition to the Chicago bullpen since coming over in late July.
Chavez struck out both batters he faced to record the save in Monday's 7-4 win over the Mets. It didn't look like Chavez would be in line for a save in this one, as the Cubs brought out Pedro Strop to begin the ninth inning. However, he put two runners on while retiring just one, and then Justin Wilson failed to retire Jay Bruce in a lefty-lefty matchup. That's when Joe Maddon turned to Chavez, and the 35-year-old struck out two hitters with the bases loaded to end the game. Chavez has excelled since coming over to Chicago, and this clutch performance should only boost his standing in the bullpen pecking order.