Last Wednesday, the Colorado Rockies demoted starting pitcher Jhoulys Chacin to AAA Colorado Springs. Today, the Denver Post is reporting that Chacin had not reported to Colorado Springs yet, and wasn’t planning on it.
Before the All-Star break last year, Chacin was performing pretty well. He had a 3.16 ERA in 116 2/3 innings, striking out 101, walking 50, and allowing 15 homers. Once the second half rolled along, Chacin fell off the tracks. His ERA dropped to 4.31, and Chacin struck out just 49 while walking 37 and allowing five homers in 77 1/3 innings.
2012 looked a lot like the second half of last year for Chacin as well. So far this season, he has a 7.30 ERA in 24 2/3 innings, striking out 22, walking 15, and allowing seven homers. While Chacin’s control is out of whack, with his walk rate rising by a batter per inning from the second half of last year to this season, his strikeout rate is actually higher than it was in either half of the 2011 season. His failures can be summarized by his sky-high home run rate, more than twice that of his awful rate in the first half last year. 24.1% of flyballs hit against Chacin this year are flying out of the park. The standard league rate is 10.6%, so yeah, that is an odd quirk plaguging Chacin this year. Chacin’s velocity HAS dropped this year, so there could be something else at work here.
As for Chacin refusing the assignment….this is a huge can of worms. Players can refuse a minor league assignment if they have at least five years of major league service time (which Chacin does not), or if they have at least three years of major league service time AND have already been outrighted once during their careers. If they go that route, they can elect to become a free agent. Cot’s has Chacin listed as 2.012 years of service time coming into the year, so he doesn’t qualify for that provision either. So what’s going to happen here? Well, if he doesn’t report, I’d assume the Rockies would throw him on the restricted list, which means he’s not on the active roster, not getting paid, not accruing service team, but is still a member of the Rockies. You may have heard of the restricted list in the cases of Delmon Young, Matt Bush, and the pitcher formerly known as Fausto Carmona this year.
UPDATE: Chacin has been placed on the 15-day DL. Well, that’ll avoid all the restricted list nonsense and keeps Chacin away from the AAA assignment he didn’t want.
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