Padres complete 1-year deal with righty Chacin

Padres complete 1-year deal with righty Chacin

SAN DIEGO -- The Padres officially completed their first big league acquisition of the offseason Tuesday, signing right-hander Jhoulys Chacin to a one-year deal.

The move was the first rotation domino to fall, as the Padres look to bolster their pitching staff before the start of Spring Training. Chacin will be given the chance to win a starting job in a wide-open rotation race. So, too, will left-hander Clayton Richard, who re-signed with the club Tuesday.

Chacin opened the 2016 campaign with Atlanta, before being dealt to the Angels in May. He posted a 4.81 ERA in 34 appearances, 22 of them starts.

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The 28-year-old righty is entering his ninth season in the big leagues -- the first six of which came in Colorado. And while he's spent most of his career as a starter, he could move to the bullpen if he doesn't make the rotation out of camp.

In any case, Chacin is certainly capable of eating innings for the Padres in 2017, and given the state of the current pitching staff, that's sorely needed. As it stands, all five rotation spots are up for grabs -- with Richard, Luis Perdomo and Christian Friedrich as early favorites. The other two spots are open, with Colin Rea and Robbie Erlin recovering from Tommy John surgery. Cesar Vargas and Jarred Cosart will be returning from elbow injuries as well.

After posting a 3.61 ERA in his first five big league seasons, Chacin has struggled since 2014. He's pitched for four clubs in that span, notching a 4.81 ERA and a 1.42 WHIP.

But there's reason to believe Chacin could be set to bounce back in 2017. His 4.01 FIP (fielding-independent pitching) was much lower than his ERA, meaning he likely suffered some misfortune on balls in play during the '16 season.

Chacin's tendency toward ground balls is also reason for optimism. Among pitchers with as many innings, Chacin's 1.69 ground-ball-to-fly-ball ratio was 20th in the Majors last season.

In five starts for Leones del Caracas in the Venezuelan Winter League this year, Chacin has posted a 2.54 ERA.

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.v This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.