The Royals and Bruce Chen have agreed to a one-year contract worth $2MM with another $1.5MM in performance bonuses according to SI.com's Jon Heyman (on Twitter). The deal is pending a physical per a team press release. Chen is represented by Scott Boras.
The 33-year-old is the second free agent lefty Kansas City has signed in as many days. Unlike Jeff Francis, Chen spent the 2010 season with the Royals, pitching to a 4.17 ERA in 140 1/3 innings. He struck out 6.3 and walked 3.7 batters per nine innings pitched, respectively. It was the second most innings Chen has pitched in a single big league season since 2001, as he's bounced around from team to team over the last decade.
Chen has extensive experience both starting and relieving, so he'll provide the Royals with quite a bit of flexibility should some of the high-end arms from their top ranking farm system come up during the season. He'll also be a nice piece of trade bait at the deadline should he repeat last season's success.
GM Dayton Moore recently indicated that he was prioritizing pitching depth, and within five days he signed both Chen and Francis for just a $4MM guarantee combined. Those two won't replace Zack Greinke's production, but they'll give the team much needed innings.