In the dwindling free agency market and especially the one for starting pitchers, Wei-Yin Chen seems to stand out both in his demands and quality. The Baltimore Orioles would love to re-sign him, but the high price tag might mean the Los Angeles Dodgers will be the ones getting him eventually.
The 30-year old who has been in Baltimore for the last four years is asking for $100 million over five seasons (made $4.75 million last season) if rumors are to be believed. He had a career season in 2015, going 11-8 in 31 starts with a career best 3.34 ERA, 1.218 WHIP and 7.2 strikeouts per nine innings. The last number might not be too impressive for some, but it’s also tied for a career best for Chen, who is less about the power when making batters swing and miss.
The Dodgers love them left-handed pitchers, but that might mean they’ll be looking at other names (like Japanese right-hander Kenta Maeda) before committing to Chen, who seems quite patient and confident he’ll get the kind of money he’s looking for. The Orioles don’t seem too eager to sign him for that kind of money. The San Francisco Giants have put a lot of money into starting pitching this offseason, and other teams like the Chicago Cubs have already done their big dealings. The Dodgers might be the only player left for Chen to sign with.
The Dodgers already have Clayton Kershaw, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Brett Anderson and Alex Wood on their rotation, all left-handed pitchers. Bringing in Chen might mean they’ll need a sixth option of simply a right handed heavy kind of bullpen, and it might also help put the Zack Greinke departure a little bit behind them, hoping that the slightly cheaper Chen keeps on throwing the ball like he has over the last couple of seasons.