Evaluating Andrew Chafin as a St. Louis Cardinals free-agent target

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John Mozeliak watches the action prior to the start of the game against the Boston Red Sox at Jet Blue Field on February 26, 2013 in Fort Myers, Florida. The Cardinals defeated the Red Sox 15-4. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
John Mozeliak watches the action prior to the start of the game against the Boston Red Sox at Jet Blue Field on February 26, 2013 in Fort Myers, Florida. The Cardinals defeated the Red Sox 15-4. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images) /
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Andrew Chafin makes a ton of sense as a free-agent target for the St. Louis Cardinals, both from a fit and need standpoint, and he should be in their price range.

In the rotation, the St. Louis Cardinals have four right-handed pitchers and only one left-hander. While they have multiple left-handers in the bullpen, including Genesis Cabrera and T.J. McFarland, they are set to lose Andrew Miller in free agency.

So it would make sense for Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak to pursue another left-handed reliever once the lockout is over – and Jim Bowden of The Athletic believes that Andrew Chafin would be an ideal free-agent target.

Chafin, 31, has somehow not been connected to the Cardinals until now, with Joe Kelly, Ryan Tepera and Collin McHugh drawing the most buzz. But Chafin is coming off a strong season in which he posted a 1.83 ERA and 2.9 WAR in 68.2 innings with the Chicago Cubs and Oakland A’s this past season.

Unlike the other three names listed above, Chafin should not cost that much. While Kelly, who is expected to sign a multi-year deal worth $6-7 million per season, is reportedly out of the Cardinals’ price range, Chafin will come cheaper. He could land a one or two-year deal worth around $4 million per season, which would leave plenty of room for the Cardinals to make other moves, perhaps to add another reliever, starting pitcher and/or infielder.

The Cardinals are obviously familiar with Chafin, having watched him pitch for the Cubs, and he has posted a 2.40 career ERA in 17 appearances (15 innings) and a 17/4 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He would not draw the same headlines as Kelly or Tepera, but from a need (left-handed reliever) and a fit (late inning, high-leverage reliever) standpoint, Chafin may be the best fit of them all.

Chafin is a name to keep an eye on. Same with Brad Boxberger.

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