Wei-Yin Chen Inks With the Seattle Mariners
First reported by Jon Heyman, the eight-year veteran inked a minor league contract with Seattle. That also included an invite to spring training. It’s a low-risk move for Seattle as they don’t have to create a spot on the 40-man roster just to add him.
Wei-Yin Chen has deal with Mariners
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) January 30, 2020
The addition of Chen to Seattle comes after he was released by Miami back in November. While it ends a bad era for both Chen and the Marlins, the effects are still lingering. Still on the books from Chen’s original contract is one year and $22 million dollars. There’s not much wiggle room for the Marlins to get out of that contract although there could be some reprieve.
If Chen does make the roster that would mean Seattle would pay him somewhere around MLB league minimum. That would then be taken off of Miami’s financial obligation. That would be the best-case scenario for the Marlins as the other option would be on the hook for the full $22 million.
Chen’s appeal really came about after his tenure with the Baltimore Orioles from 2012-2015. During that four year span, Chen averaged over 136 strikeouts per year and accumulated a 3.72 ERA. He picked up 46 wins total and a four-year FIP mark (Field Independent Pitching) of 4.14.
All of that pitching magic landed him the largest guaranteed contract in Marlins’ history for a starting pitcher back in 2016. Miami was so far in on Chen that they gave him five years and $80 million guaranteed. The problem was that Chen came nowhere close to living up to that contract.
The injury bug and constant predictability derailed Chen’s career with Miami. During the four year span, the Taiwanese lefty appeared in just 102 games and 358 innings. He made just 53 starts and watched his ERA balloon to 5.10. Chen also saw his FIP rise to 4.54 and his WHIP jump to 1.33. The last straw was the monstrous 2019 campaign for Chen who posted career-highs in ERA (6.59), FIP (5.23), WHIP (1.537), and hits per nine innings (11.5). That led to the early dismissal and the potential loss of a full $22 million for the Marlins.
While most of Chen’s appearances across the last two seasons came from the bullpen, Seattle’s GM Jerry Dipoto has noted interest for Chen in the starting rotation. By no means is anything guaranteed for Chen as he has to battle it out with young guns Justin Dunn and Logan Gilbert among others.
Going to Seattle would be quite an interesting path for Chen since arguably his best game as a Marlin came against Seattle. He gave up no runs and no hits while striking out two through seven innings.
It’s the easiest path for Chen to get back to the majors and only time will tell whether we see a comeback story or another failed attempt.