Detroit Tigers sign reliever Andrew Chafin to two-year, $13 million contract – Detroit Free Press

Detroit Tigers sign reliever Andrew Chafin to two-year, $13 million contract – Detroit Free Press
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LAKELAND, Fla. — The Detroit Tigers have signed left-handed reliever Andrew Chafin to a two-year, $13 million contract, a source with knowledge of the agreement told the Free Press.

He has an opt-out clause after the first season.

“Obviously, as we’ve said, we’re looking for things that can help us get better,” Tigers manager AJ Hinch said Wednesday afternoon, following his team’s spring training workout. “I can’t confirm anything, other than we’re actively looking to upgrade our team and put our team in the best chance to win. These things tend to leak out before things are finalized. We hope to make the team better.”

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Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Andrew Chafin delivers a pitch during the eighth inning of a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Los Angeles on Thursday, June 24, 2021.

Chafin, who turns 32 in June, has pitched eight seasons for the Arizona Diamondbacks (2014-20), Chicago Cubs (2020-21) and Oakland Athletics (2021), boasting a career 3.30 ERA and 3.18 FIP.

The Cubs traded Chafin to the Athletics at last year’s trade deadline in July.

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“Definitely really excited to add him to our bullpen,” Tigers right-handed starter Casey Mize said Wednesday. “Our bullpen, the back end of it, is really good. To add him to that makes us feel better about it. Pumped to have him. I was excited when I saw the news.”

Chafin logged a 1.83 ERA with 19 walks and 64 strikeouts in 71 total 2021 appearances. He excelled against right-handed and left-handed hitters, boosting him to an overall 24.1% strikeout rate and career-best 7.1% walk rate.

Right-handers hit .196 against him last season; lefties hit .170.

“He’s going to help us out a lot, especially being from the left side,” Tigers right-handed reliever Michael Fulmer said Wednesday. “This bullpen is getting better and better. It’s awesome.”

The Tigers have added four players to MLB contracts this offseason: Chafin, shortstop Javier Baez (six years, $140 million), left-handed starter Eduardo Rodriguez (five years, $77 million) and catcher Tucker Barnhart (trade from Cincinnati Reds). 

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Chafin, who has appeared in four postseason games, joins what Hinch describes as his winning bullpen.

The high-leverage, late-inning relievers include Chafin, Fulmer, left-handed closer Gregory Soto, right-hander Jose Cisnero, righty Kyle Funkhouser and righty Alex Lange.

“With Chafin being the guy he is and absolutely dominant from the left side and against lefties,” Fulmer said, “it’s going to be good to have Soto lock down that ninth inning. That’s where he belongs. He’s got great stuff. And I’m excited to meet Andrew. Hopefully, he helps us out a lot.”

The Tigers’ bullpen had a 4.50 ERA last season, ranking 22nd in MLB.

“I feel good about the path to winning,” Hinch said Wednesday morning, before practice. “I always talk about that with our players. We have a path to win. That starts with the starting pitcher getting us to a part of the game where we can start counting outs. We can do that in a variety of ways.”

“I don’t love defined roles as much as I like the pathway to winning.”

Contact Evan Petzold at epetzold@freepress.com or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold. Read more on the Detroit Tigers and sign up for our Tigers newsletter.