Ranking Potential Free Agent Signings for the Astros Headed Into Spring Training

Championship Series - San Diego Padres v Philadelphia Phillies - Game Three
Championship Series - San Diego Padres v Philadelphia Phillies - Game Three / Elsa/GettyImages
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Andrew Chafin
Detroit Tigers v Baltimore Orioles / Mitchell Layton/GettyImages

2) Andrew Chafin

Another long rumored Astro, it's hard to believe Chafin remains unsigned. Chafin's elite fastball/slider combo led a 2.83 ERA in 57.1in 2022. For all of the talk of the Astros needing a lefty, he finished with reverse splits in 2022, holding righties to a well below average .586 OPS and lefties to a .665 OPS.

Chafin's Statcast metrics are almost exclusively in the red. His chase rate was 89th percentile and he finished 87th percentile in whiff rate. He keeps traffic off the base paths, and limits damage when he does get hit, finishing 86th percentile in xBA and xSLG, 84th percentile in xERA/xwOBA and 81st percentile in hard hit rate. 2022 was far from an outlier, as his Statcast metrics are consistently elite for a reliever.

As Ken Rosenthal recently reported (subscription required) the deal the Phillies gave to Matt Strahm (two years, $15 million) greatly inflated the market for left-handers. He did list Houston as a team interested in a lefty out of the pen. Chafin would be far more than a token lefty for Dusty. If the price is right, which it may very well be too high, Chafin turns a dominant bullpen into one that is impossible to score on. Only one option makes more sense.