The Miami Marlins signed a top starting pitcher free agent on Tuesday, once again proving their willingness to contend in 2016 and in the near future.
Jon Heyman of MLB Network reported that the Marlins signed right-hander Wei-Yin Chen to a five-year, $80 million deal. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports first mentioned that the two sides were in discussions early this morning.
Chen's deal also includes a vesting option for a sixth year that would push the total guarantee to $96 million. His option will vest if he throws 180 or more innings in the final year of his contract or throws 360 innings in the final two years of his contract.
Buster Olney of ESPN.com reported that Chen's deal includes an opt-out clause after two seasons. There is not a no-trade clause in the contact, per Rosenthal, and it is pending a physical.
The Marlins staff immediately gets an upgrade with the addition. To go along with Chen, their rotation, led by Jose Fernandez, includes the likes of Jarred Cosart, Tom Koehler, and Edwin Jackson. In 2015, the staff posted a 4.25 ERA, 18th in the Majors.
The team has been off-and-on in showing the willingness to commit to winning. Owner Jeffrey Loria is considered by many to be at the root of those inconsistencies, which have included signing Giancarlo Stanton to a $300 million deal, but also reportedly being interested in dealing Marcell Ozuna due to issues with his agent, Scott Boras (who also happens to be Chen's agent).
Nonetheless, signing a big free agent is something that hasn't happened often for the Marlins under Loria. In fact, a deal of this magnitude has not occurred since Miami signed Jose Reyes to a six-year, $106 million deal in 2011.
Chen isn't the flashiest of free agents, though he has pitched well at an extreme hitter's park at Camden Yards, and could be even better in the roomy stadium in Miami.
The 30-year-old Taiwanese pitcher went 11-8 with a 3.34 ERA and a 153 to 41 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 191 1/3 innings pitched. According to FanGraphs, he was worth 2.8 Wins Above Replacement.
Over his career, Chen has compiled a 46-32 record and a 3.72 ERA in four seasons with the Orioles. He has a career 9.5 Wins Above Replacement and 3.18 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
The Royals, Nationals, and Cardinals also showed interest in Chen, who at one time was thought have been asking for over $100 million.