Toronto Star

LaCava acquires Chavez in first deal

- RICHARD GRIFFIN BASEBALL COLUMNIST

The first trade of the post-Alex Anthopoulo­s era was completed Friday night, with Blue Jays interim GM Tony LaCava sending right-handed reliever Liam Hendriks to the Oakland A’s for right-handed starter Jesse Chavez, who pitched previously for the Jays in 2012.

Chavez, 32, joined the A’s rotation on April 23 after four relief outings and was the fifth starter for the remainder of the season. In 30 games, 26 starts, the soft-throwing California­n was 7-15, with a 4.18 ERA, striking out 136 batters in 157 innings, with a 1.350 WHIP. Chavez had been removed from the 40-man roster of the A’s in recent days and would have been available to be selected in the Rule 5 draft at the winter meetings.

In a brief stint with the Jays in 2012, Chavez was 1-1 with an 8.44 ERA in nine games, two of them starts, before his contract was sold to the A’s in August. He had his best big-league season with Oakland in 2014, going 8-8 with a 3.45 ERA. He had 21 starts among his 32 appearance­s that year.

Chavez has five-plus years of major-league service and can be a free agent following the 2016 season.

The trade of the popular, Australian-born Hendriks comes as somewhat of a surprise. The 26-year-old, in his second tour of duty with the Jays, had added four or five miles per hour to his fastball, reaching as high as 96 on the radar gun and finding a role in middle relief in manager John Gibbons’ bullpen.

Hendriks appeared in 58 games with a 5-0 record and a 2.92 ERA. He was under control for the next four seasons and was earning just above the minimum at $518,000.

Chavez is insurance for the Jays’ rotation and will likely compete for the fifth starter’s role.

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