Braves need to make fan-favorite's final MLB season happen in Atlanta

Miami Marlins v Atlanta Braves
Miami Marlins v Atlanta Braves / Matthew Grimes Jr./Atlanta Braves/GettyImages

The only group that may love veteran reliever Jesse Chavez more than the Atlanta Braves front office and coaching staff is Braves fans. The bespectacled righty played the full season with the Braves in 2021, middled withe the Cubs and Angels before landing back in Atlanta for the end of the 2022 season, and was once again in the Braves bullpen for the 2023 season.

Chavez has become a fan-favorite in Atlanta not just because of his unique and fun demeanor, but also because he's just been damn good as a reliable middle reliever. He had a 2.14 ERA with the club in 2021, bounced back from his slow start elsewhere with a 2.72 ERA in his 2022 stint, and then dominated when healthy -- he missed three-ish months after taking a comebacker off his leg -- in 2023, he was dominant with a 1.56 ERA.

Already thriving in the twilight of his career, though, Chavez doesn't sound like a pitcher who's going to push it too far in terms of longevity. During an appearance on MLB Network Radio's "Loud Outs", Chavez made it seem quite clear that the 2024 MLB season will be his last.

“This is probably going to be it. We all talked about me going out the way I came in — being able to roll out of bed and pick up a baseball and throw it,” Chavez said, (h/t MLBTradeRumors). "And that’s how I feel still. So I feel like that’s kind of unique in a way, where we don’t get that option too many times when we can go home healthy... Like every year, we’ll probably give it all we have, and go into coaching next season.”

Braves should sign Jesse Chavez for farewell tour with Atlanta

As he mulls retirement, though, Chavez remains a free agent. And though he's 40 years old and will turn 41 during the dog days of summer, the Braves should give him a proverbial farewell tour by re-signing the reliever for the 2024 season.

There's a lot to like about the Braves bullpen coming into the 2024 campaign, to be sure. The acquisitions of Aaron Bummer and Reynaldo Lopez along with the likely return of Tyler Matzek to complement Raisel Iglesias and A.J. Minter, among others, should prove valuable for Atlanta.

At the same time, we saw how mightily the pitching depth in Atlanta was tested a season ago, which is something they could look to combat. While fliers on guys like Ken Giles might work out, there is something to be said for having a steady veteran who you know what to expect from, which is a role Chavez clearly would fill.

On top of that, with how Chavez has enjoyed a late-career resurgence with the Braves, it would be fitting for the club to allow him to end his career in Atlanta as well. It's a win-win if Alex Anthopoulos can make it happen.

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