Detroit Tigers sign lefty free agent relief pitcher ‘The Sheriff’ Andrew Chafin

Tigers fill need for left-handed reliever in bullpen

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 08: Andrew Chafin #39 of the Oakland Athletics pitches against the Chicago White Sox in the eighth inning at RingCentral Coliseum on September 08, 2021 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) (Ezra Shaw, 2021 Getty Images)

DETROIT – The Detroit Tigers have signed free agent left-handed relief pitcher Andrew Chafin, according to reports.

The deal is for two years and $13 million, with an opt-out after the first year, reports said.

Chafin, 31, also known as “The Sheriff,” was one of the top left-handed relievers on the free agent market this offseason after posting a 1.83 ERA, 2.98 FIP and 0.932 WHIP across 68.2 innings with the Chicago Cubs and Oakland Athletics a year ago.

He spent parts of seven seasons with the Arizona Diamondbacks and was traded to the Cubs midway through 2020. Another trade deadline move sent him to Oakland in July 2021.

In his career, Chafin owns a 3.30 ERA, 3.18 FIP and 1.238 WHIP. He has struck out 355 batters in 343.1 innings.

While he’s always been a solid reliever, Chafin took his game to the next level by lowering his walk rate significantly over the past year and a half. He left Arizona with a career walk rate of 3.9 batters per nine innings, and lowered that to 2.8 with the Cubs and 2.1 during his brief stint in Oakland.

The Tigers have one left-handed pitcher locked into a bullpen role with closer Gregory Soto, and possibly a second if Tyler Alexander isn’t added to the starting rotation. Chafin gives manager A.J. Hinch another elite option against left-handers late in games.

Last season, specifically, Chafin held lefties to a .170/.250/.223 slash line, with more strikeouts (21) than hits allowed (16). Right-handed hitters weren’t much better, at .196/.247/.304.

Here’s how the Tigers’ bullpen likely stacks up:

Right handers:

  • Michael Fulmer
  • Jose Cisnero
  • Kyle Funkhouser
  • Alex Lange
  • Joe Jimenez

Left handers:

  • Gregory Soto
  • Andrew Chafin
  • Tyler Alexander (possible starting rotation)

About the Author:

Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.