On the heels of signing Miguel Batista, the Mets yesterday inked southpaw Gustavo Chacin to a minor league contract. Chacin was released by the Houston Astros just last week, and he will report to Triple A Buffalo. The Bisons had a solid projected rotation for the 2011 season, but injuries (Jenrry Mejia and Boof Bonser) and call-ups (Dillon Gee) have created a void in the pitching staff.
Chacin was signed by the Toronto Blue Jays as an amateur free agent in 1998 when he was just seventeen years old. He received his first shot in the majors in 2004, making two, solid starts in late September. In ’05, he earned a spot in the starting rotation and performed pretty well, going 13-9 with a 3.72 ERA and 1.394 WHIP in 203 innings.
Since then, however, Chacin hasn’t been able to recapture his prior success. Between 2006-07, Chacin made 22 starts for Toronto, pitching to a 5.18 ERA, 1.430 WHIP, despite an 11-5 record (he also spent time down on the farm). He began the 2008 season in the Blue Jays minor league system and did not pitch well, leading to Chacin becoming a free agent. He spent 2009 in the Phillies’ minor league system before signing with the Houston in 2010. The Astros brought him up to the majors last year as a reliever, where he appeared in 44 games (38.1 IP), allowing 20 earned runs on 51 hits and 20 walks while striking out 31. Chacin had a 5.13 ERA and 1.575 WHIP in 27 games (nine starts) at Triple A Oklahoma City before his release.
Chacin shouldn’t serve as anything more than a warm body for the Mets. The lefty only has a career K/9 of 5.3 and also owns a BB/9 of 3.4. His lack of command and striketous, combined with his propensity to give up hits (9.5 H/9) and HR (1.2 HR/9) have made Chacin largely ineffective over the past few years. He could potentially work in the bullpen if Tim Byrdak gets traded, but for now will simply provide rotation depth at Buffalo.