The Miami Marlins have agreed to terms on a five-year, $80 million deal with now-former Baltimore Orioles left-handed pitcher Wei-Yin Chen. Buster Olney of ESPN confirmed that the two sides had reached an agreement.
Chen’s contract guarantees him $80 million over those five years, per USA Today’s Bob Nightengale. But the Taiwanese export’s new deal also contains several provisions that could possibly either shorten or extend his tenure in Miami.
For starters, Chen’s deal includes an option for a sixth year that could bring the total value of the contract to six years, $96 million, according to Jon Heyman. However, Chen also has the choice to opt-out after the second year, allowing him to reach the open market before he reaches 34 years of age.
wei-yin chen 6th-yr option vests with 180 IP in year 5 or 360 IP in yr 4-5, which would turn 80M to 96M #marlins
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) January 12, 2016
FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that Chen does not receive a no-trade clause in his contract, something the Marlins organization has been wary of giving players for years. Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald noted that Chen will make $6 million in 2016 and $14 million in the first two years of his deal, thus making the contract backloaded.
Several teams were previously connected to Chen, including the Washington Nationals, New York Yankees, San Francisco Giants, and St. Louis Cardinals.
There was a report from Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com last month that Chen was seeking a five-year deal worth $100 million. If that was the case, Chen obviously had to drop those demands slightly to reach a deal with his new team.
In the 30-year-old Chen, the Marlins acquire a solid pitcher who was a rock in the Orioles’ rotation the past four seasons. Last year, Chen went 11-8 with a 3.34 ERA in 31 starts and 191-and-one-third innings. Since making his Major League debut in 2011, Chen has averaged a 3.74 ERA, over 11 wins, and nearly 180 innings.
While Chen does not have overpowering stuff, his ability to limit walks and home runs has paved the way to his reputation as one of MLB’s best lefties. For his career, Chen owns a BB/9 of 2.2 and HR/9 of 1.2.
In the last two seasons, Chen was walked fewer batters than Zack Greinke, according to MLB Trade Rumors. Chen has also been tough on left-handed hitters. In 2015, same-side hitters batted just.223 against Chen — and just.240 since the 2013 season, according to ESPN.
Per MLB Trade Rumors, only Dallas Keuchel, Jake Arrieta, Greinke, and Clayton Kershaw have enjoyed more success against lefties since 2014.
Looking past the Marlins’ young stud of a pitcher, Jose Fernandez, the team was in need of some capable pitching for its rotation. Now Chen slots in as the No. 2 starter on a Marlins team that is in need of some veteran leadership. Righties Tom Koehler and Jarred Cosart are likely the only other confirmed names for the 2016 rotation.
The Marlins have a slew of candidates who could potentially fill in the back of the rotation. Those who are not able to earn jobs as a starter could see themselves pitching out of the bullpen in 2016.
- Adam Conley
- Brad Hand
- David Phelps
- Justin Nicolino
- Jose Urena
- Kendry Flores
Since Chen turned down a qualifying offer from the Orioles this offseason, he will cost the Marlins their non-protected pick, which should be in the second round of this year’s draft. The Orioles will also get a compensation pick for Chen’s departure.
[Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images]