The Miami Marlins have signed left-handed pitcher Wei-Yin Chen to a five-year, $80 million deal reports Jon Heyman of MLB Network. The deal reportedly includes a no-trade clause and has a sixth year vesting option which can bring the total contract to $96 million.
The deal is a bit of a surprise given the Marlins’ battle with Scott Boras regarding Jose Fernandez, but money speaks.
Chen is a very serviceable pitcher and has put together four straight quality seasons since joining MLB in 2012. The 30-year-old went 11-8 with a 3.34 ERA (4.16 FIP) last season, throwing 191.1 innings for the Orioles. Chen is a solid strikeout pitcher averaging 7.2 K/9 in 2015, but his bread and butter is his control. He walked only 41 batters in 2015, and has a career 2.2 BB/9.
If he’s got an Achilles heel it’s giving up home runs, as he’s given up 97 over the last four seasons including 28 last year. Still, he’s a durable lefty, which is something every team (except the Dodgers) could use. $16 million per year may seem a bit steep, but it’s the going rate for quality left-handed pitchers.
Chen brings a much-needed veteran presence to Miami’s rotation, as the current squad is fairly young. He projects as the number two starter behind ace Jose Fernandez, and sits ahead of Jared Cosart, Justin Nicolino, David Phelps, Tom Koehler, and other Marlins rotation options on the depth chart.
This is the Marlins, so the no-trade clause means the team will get a year-and-half out of Chen before they blow things up, fire everybody and trade him.