Jhoulys Chacin arrived at spring training last February as a weight-and-see proposition, stung by management's criticism of his conditioning. He promptly shrank from the moment, undermined by an odd pectoral injury.
A year later, everything is different.
He parlayed intense rehabilitation, an encouraging finish and a strong winter into a two-year, $6.5 million contract. What should follow, Chacin said, is his best season, the type of statement performance that will make the club take seriously his wish to play his entire career in Denver.
"It really means so much that they trusted me like this. When a multiyear contract came up, I told my agent I wanted to do it," said Chacin, who has one year of salary arbitration remaining in 2015.
"I love the people and city of Denver. This gives me peace of mind. I want to be with the Rockies for my entire career."
First-year manager Walt Weiss, perhaps with white knuckles crossed, is counting heavily on the 25-year-old to rebound. The opportunity exists for the right-hander to become the staff ace, possibly even start on opening day.
"I think the next step for him, as it is for a lot of big-leaguers, is consistency," Weiss said. "It's about putting together numerous starts, and that's easier said than done. But he has a bit of a track record and has dominated some good lineups for a period of time."
There was doubt last May if Chacin could ever again stick in the rotation for an entire season. He hit bottom with a thud on May 1, falling to 0-3 with a 7.30 ERA, leaving him with three wins in his past 21 starts. Chacin wasn't himself. Gone were his confidence and fastball command. Multiple exams finally revealed a nerve issue in his right pectoral muscle, explaining what he referred to as a "dead arm."
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Jhoulys Chacin aims for his best season as a Rockies pitcher
Denver Post | Feb 11