What’s next for Wei-Yin Chen? As the potential No. 1 starter in the Miami Marlins rotation works toward his next contract – whether it come from his current ball club or through free agency – the player who was on the bump for the Marlins first game of last season has something to prove in 2017.
An elbow injury cost the 31-year-old lefty the majority of the second half of 2016.
As David Schoenfield, ESPN Senior Writer, points out, Chen has a contract that will make things interesting for the Marlins moving forward.
“Chen's $80 million contract was interesting; it was backloaded, but with player options for 2018 ($10 million), 2019 ($20 million) and 2020 ($22 million) -- which he gets to exercise all at once, after the 2017 World Series. If he pitches poorly or gets hurt, he'll take the options; if he pitches well, he could possibly test the market again.”
The Marlins are hoping he pitches well and decides to continue to make Miami his home. In the wake of revamping the team’s pitching staff – and the loss of Jose Fernandez – a strong veteran presence in the rotation is essential for this ball club. Miami, 79-82 last season, needs an impressive year from holdovers Chen, Tom Koehler, and Adam Conley. Manager Don Mattingly will also need consistency from free agent signee Edinson Volquez and the recently acquired Dan Straily.
When Chen was named the starting pitcher for the opening day of the 2016 season, he became the second Taiwanese pitcher to make a start on opening day since Chien-Ming Wang in 2008.
After the 2011 season, Chen signed as an international free agent with the Baltimore Orioles. Chen was the first Taiwanese player ever signed by the Orioles. He made his MLB debut on April 10, 2012 against the New York Yankees in Baltimore. The game was broadcast live on national television in native Taiwan, and Chen totaled 5?2/3 innings and gave up two earned runs striking out six in a no-decision that the Orioles would later go on to lose in extra innings. In total, Chen finished the season leading the team with 32 starts during which he totaled 12 wins and 11 losses and posted an ERA of 4.02 in 192.2 innings pitched.
In 2012, Chen was "the only constant in the (Orioles) rotation" and was consistent throughout the year. Chen finished fourth in the AL for Rookie of the Year voting.