The decision to bring Jesse Chavez back to the Texas Rangers seemed to be unanimous, based on the way the right-hander impacted the team with his pitching and leadership in the clubhouse over only the first half of last season before he was traded to the Chicago Cubs.
If anyone did object, it certainly wasn’t new manager Chris Woodward.
Woodward and Chavez were former teammates in the Toronto Blue Jays’ organization as time was winding down on Woodward’s playing career. He had been in the major leagues, as had Chavez, who took note of the way Woodward went about his business.
“He gave me the biggest compliment,” Woodward said. “He used to call me ‘Pro’ when we played together. Everything I did, he said ‘I’ve never seen anyone so professional.’ So now I call him ‘Pro’ because he is. He’s a pro.”
The Rangers signed Chavez to a two-year, $8 million contract to be a multi-innings reliever who is willing to do whatever the team asks. The hope is that the way he goes about thing each day will rub off on the young relievers expected to join him in the Rangers’ bullpen.
Woodward is looking forward to having Chavez, with whom he also coached with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2016, to help him set a tone in the clubhouse.
“We have a pretty deep relationship,” Woodward said. ‘He understands what I’m all about and what kind of vision I have and what I expect out of players. It’s a cultural thing. I expect a lot of leadership out of him, and he can’t wait.”