But one MLB player has been swapped in more deals than any other.
He’s played in less than 15 seasons and been traded nine times — including eleven this year. He’s won a World Series, he’s played in every division and he’s probably played for your favorite team.
He is 38-year-old bespectacled Braves reliever Jesse Chavez.
Yes, Chavez has been dealt three more times than famous journeymen like Edwin Jackson or Octavio Dotel. Former pitcher Dick Littlefield would’ve been tied with Chavez at nine (look at his ridiculous transactions page), but his 1956 trade to the Giants for Jackie Robinson was voided: Robinson chose to retire rather than play for the Dodgers’ rivals.
So because it is trade season, and these next 24-48 hours should be awash with last-second swaps and steals, let’s run through the career of the most moveable man in baseball history.
Chavez was selected by the Rangers way back the 2002 Draft — a pool of players that included BJ Upton, Khalil Greene and Prince Fielder. But before he even had a chance to reach the Majors, he was traded to the Pirates in ’06 for Kip Wells. Wells appeared in two games for the Rangers and retired 10 years ago. A few of Chavez’s teammates during his time in Pittsburgh were Nyjer Morgan, Doug Mientkiewicz, relief pitcher Matt Morris and third baseman Joseph Baptist. Nobody since that 2008 Pirates roster is still playing in the big leagues.
Chavez played sparingly for Pittsburgh for two seasons and then was dealt to the Rays in November 2009 for Akinori Iwamura. Iwamura last played in the big leagues in 2010.
Before Chavez likely even realized he was a Ray, he wasn’t one anymore: In December, he was swapped for former closer Rafael Soriano and sent to Atlanta.
Seven months later, at the July 31 Trade Deadline, Chavez was moved again. He, Tim Collins and Gregor Blanco went to the Royals for pitcher-turned-position-player Rick Ankiel and future most-jacked-dude-alive Kyle Farnsworth.
After bouncing between the Minors and Majors with KC, Chavez was put on waivers in the 2011 offseason and picked up by the Blue Jays. He appeared for 13 games for them in 2012, but was then — you guessed it — traded for cash to Oakland in August of that year. He enjoyed some of the better years of his career with the A’s — pitching as both a starter and a reliever.
Still, even after four solid seasons, the then 32-year-old was moved again. The A’s traded Chavez back to the Blue Jays for future All-Star closer Liam Hendriks. Chavez’s numbers in Toronto weren’t amazing, although he did throw the hit-by-pitch that ultimately resulted in one of the craziest brawls in history.
After a few months with the Blue Jays, the righty was dealt around the Deadline again: He went to the Dodgers for Mike Bolsinger. Chavez had a 4.21 ERA in just 21 games for LA but, along with another reliever, he seemed almost destined to be at Dodger Stadium.
Chavez stayed in the Los Angeles area for 2017 — signing a one-year deal with the crosstown Angels. He signed another one-year deal with his original team, the Rangers, for the 2018 season. Chavez was great in 30 games out of the bullpen for Texas, putting up a 3.51 ERA. So great that the Cubs wanted him in their bullpen. So, yes, he was traded in July to Chicago for Minor Leaguer Tyler Thomas.
Chavez was exceptional down the stretch for the Cubs, posting a 1.15 ERA in 31 appearances. He also saw the first October action of his baseball life: He gave up zero runs in one inning of work in the Cubs’ Wild Card Game loss to Colorado.
After saying he’d rather retire than play for another team other than the Cubs in 2019, Chavez signed a two-year deal to return to the Rangers. He struggled through injuries in his two seasons with Texas and had one of his worst seasons in 2020, compiling a 6.88 ERA in 18 games.
Chavez considered retiring, but once again, he decided against it: The veteran signed a Minor League deal with the Angels in 2021 before being released in March. Then, in April of 2021, his old friends, the Braves, came calling again – signing him to a Minor League contract.
The 37-year-old joined the Major League roster in June and found brilliance eleven more, posting a 2.14 ERA with 9.6 K/9 in 30 games out of the ‘pen. He also gave up zero runs in seven appearances for Atlanta in its championship run, including an extremely short spot-start in the NLCS against the Dodgers. Chavez could barely find the words after getting his first ring nearly 20 years and nine cities away from the team he was originally drafted by.
Chavez jumped back to the North Side of Chicago in March of ’22, signing a Minor League deal with the Cubs. But the Braves wanted their man back, mostly thinking he could be a valuable innings-eater out of the bullpen. They traded Sean Newcomb for the 38-year-old.
Chavez has since enjoyed perhaps his best season ever: He’s struck out 11 batters per nine innings, has a 2.11 ERA and a 2.55 FIP. Mostly because he’s been using his cutter more and more. Or maybe it’s magic voodoo. Or maybe his cutter is magic voodoo. Who knows?
How does it make Chavez feel to be moved around so much? According to an ESPN article from a few years ago, he and his family seem pretty OK with it and the reliever has embraced the opportunities. As long as he’s, you know, able to bring his essential items wherever he goes.
“I would say the Xbox and PlayStation,” he said. “Good for me and the kids. Mainly me.”
With the Braves and Chavez playing well, another trade before the Aug. 2 Deadline — an unbelievable 10th — seems unlikely.
But hey, what do they always say? There’s always next year.