Royals To Sign Bruce Chen

Piece by piece, the Royals' rotation is taking shape. They have agreed to sign Bruce Chen to a two-year deal worth $9MM. The deal also includes a $1MM roster bonus and up to $1MM in incentives.

Before agreeing to terms with Chen, Royals GM Dayton Moore told Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star that he is looking to add one or two more pitchers to compete with their internal candidates. Left-handers Jonathan Sanchez, Danny Duffy and Chen join right-handers Luke HochevarFelipe Paulino in the projected 2012 rotation at this point and relievers Aaron Crow and Everett Teaford could also transition to the rotation. Though Moore has already added two arms this offseason, the Royals lack top-of-the-rotation starters and may continue to pursue trades for available pitching.

Chen posted a 3.77 ERA with 5.6 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 in 155 innings for the Royals this past season. The Royals offered the 34-year-old Scott Boras client arbitration earlier today, which means they would have obtained a compensatory draft pick had he accepted one of his other offers

Jon Heyman of SI.com first reported the agreement (Twitter links) after Dutton reported that the sides were nearing a deal.


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57 Comments on "Royals To Sign Bruce Chen"


denverbears
3 years 9 months ago

seems like a lot of money…for Bruce Chen

3 years 9 months ago

Same as I was thinking. Damn… career journeyman spot starter getting 2 years and 9 million guaranteed? Someone’s happy…

MB923
3 years 9 months ago

Except when he first put this, the offer said $9 mil for 1 year

RationalSportsFan
3 years 9 months ago

Chen hasn’t been a spot starter for the last two years.  He has, however, been the Royals BEST starter.

I understand that Bruce Chen is a punchline among baseball fans, but the fact is he has been a solid effective pitcher with the Royals.

Howard
3 years 9 months ago

Agreed. I’m impressed with the Royals, 4.5mil for him a year isn’t terrible… I like what the Royals have done so far, rooting for them next year in the AL Central!

Dodgersarelife
3 years 9 months ago

SCOTT BORAS strikes again, making other teams pay for junk.

coolstorybro222
3 years 9 months ago

Hey, he pays Frenchy 5 million why not brucey?

MB923
3 years 9 months ago

$9 million for Chen? 

RationalSportsFan
3 years 9 months ago

Royals locked up the best Sino-Panamanian free agent out there.

mmiller54
3 years 9 months ago

Maybe Joe Saunders isn’t as overpriced as I thought.

grownice
3 years 9 months ago

I’m tempted to flag this as inappropriate.

NathanielS
3 years 9 months ago

Wow, nice theft.

mmiller54
3 years 9 months ago

Maybe Joe Saunders isn’t as overpriced as I thought.

NathanielS
3 years 9 months ago

I’m tempted to flag this as inappropriate. 

MB923
3 years 9 months ago

Chen has been okay the past 2 years, but it’s funny that in 2012 he will be making more money than what he has made his entire career in 13 seasons ($8.5 mil career earnings).

Edit- Now it says 2 years

Pete
3 years 9 months ago

Dr. GMDM or “How I learned to stop worrying about the greatest farm system in history, and love the losing”

3 years 9 months ago

It’s 9 million over TWO YEARS people. Read before you comment.

RationalSportsFan
3 years 9 months ago

It initially did not indicate that it was a two-year deal.  MLBTR quickly edited it.

Pete
3 years 9 months ago

It’s still too much for Bruce Chen.

MB923
3 years 9 months ago

Relax. Originally it did not say TWO YEARS

3 years 9 months ago

Great deal for the Royals. I thought he’d get more to be honest. 

Lunchbox45
3 years 9 months ago

I am now batting .143

MB923
3 years 9 months ago

You’re catching up to Vernon Wells

Lunchbox45
3 years 9 months ago

my OBP is still higher

RiverKKiller999
3 years 9 months ago

Along with Adam Dunn.

CAD_Monkey
3 years 9 months ago

I’m up to .429, but I won’t win MVP because I have bad teammates :(

Lunchbox45
3 years 9 months ago

your range sucks, but batting .429 you’ll still have a good shot at a gold glove!

MB923
3 years 9 months ago

Cy Young or Manager of the Year award has to be a shoe in

drumzalicious
3 years 9 months ago

Am I the only one more concerned about the fact that the Royals still are keeping Crow in the pen? They could get more value out of him as a starter.

twentyfivemanroster
3 years 9 months ago

You don’t know that.  In fact, I would think that with his tendencies, he would make for a terrible starter.  He’s been a starter his whole career, yet in 2010 (minors), he got rocked when facing better competition.  
Last season,he pitched in 18 2/3 innings after the All-Star and opponents had a .313 BAA and a 1.93 WHIP.   Yes, he was effective in the pen, but he was able to go balls out and then it wore on him in the second half.  He will lose too much effectiveness as a starter when he dials it back.
Besides, they are still talking about giving him a look in ST, but I seriously doubt he’s any more than a nice set-up arm.  Which is sad for a first round draft pick.

Pete
3 years 9 months ago

You know what a great thing to do is? Bring back 34 year olds with awful peripherals who were on your team that lost 91 games. That will most certainly ensue you lose at least 91 games again.

Lunchbox45
3 years 9 months ago

ya, they should go out and sign cj wilson to a huge contract, that will push them over the top!

RationalSportsFan
3 years 9 months ago

Chen is the exact sort of pitcher that certain peripherals (K/9 and BABIP for example) underrate.  Crafty pitchers who give up more weakly hit balls in play than average are frequently underrated by advanced stats.

For an example of this (though I am of course not saying Chen is anything close to this guy) check out Tom Glavine’s ERA for his career vs his FIP and xFIP (found on Fangraphs).  Certain advanced stats would have you believe that Greg Maddux was TWICE as good as Tom Glavine for the course of their careers. 

Pete
3 years 9 months ago

I would agree that Maddux was twice as good as Glavine. Maddux was absurd, as was Pedro Martinez, and both of them put up seasons that obliterated Verlanders MVP year, but they didn’t even win the Cy Young because MLB award voters are complete imbeciles.

RationalSportsFan
3 years 9 months ago

Agreed on voters as imbeciles.  Disagree on Maddux vs Glavine.  Maddux significantly better, but 55 WAR over their careers?  No way.

3 years 9 months ago

I would pretty easily call Maddux twice as good as Glavine… Maddux’s ability to avoid walks without giving up a lot of hits was inhuman.

Advanced statistics may underrate him a bit, but Glavine’s ERAs and FIPs were rarely that far off and as would be expected he had years swing back and forth from being very good and just pretty good/decent.  I think people remember Glavine as better than he was because he pitched on such a great staff and had some excellent years which make the mediocre ones more forgettable.

Which isn’t at all to say that Glavine wasn’t an excellent pitcher, he just didn’t even come close to the kind of consistant dominance that Maddux had. Also factored into the WAR discrepancy is that Maddux pitched about 3 seasons worth more innings.

Pete
3 years 9 months ago

Isn’t there some ridiculous stat has that Maddux only got to ball 3 on a hitter once every 3 starts or something? Yeah Maddux was one of the very best ever, Glavine was pretty good and should be a borderline HOF, his high WAR season was 5.7, that’s not the mark of a HOFer. 

Maddux & Pedro really were on a different field to everyone and are still IMO the best 2 pitchers I’ve seen over the last 25 years or so. 

Shu13
3 years 9 months ago

Maddux also had a 20″ wide plate…batters didn’t always swing and miss BUT b/c they knew he would get the call 4″ off the plate they swung(put in play weakly) and kept down his walks….

Lunchbox45
3 years 9 months ago

a lot of great pitchers get that advantage.. as well as average yankee and red sox pitchers

twentyfivemanroster
3 years 9 months ago

Except, he was their best pitcher the last two seasons.  He beat out Greinke on 2010 as the Royals top pitcher.  
I think it was a good signing.  He’s added a cutter that has been a nice pitch for him.  He’s a crafty lefty.  Sometimes it takes a while for them to figure things out and find success.  Maybe, just maybe Chen has.

Pete
3 years 9 months ago

Being the Royals best pitcher is like having the best diarrhea.

Also you need to add “in my opinion” when you stuff like “Player A is better than Player B” because fangraphs said Greinke had 5.1 WAR that year, and Chen had 1.2. Greinke essentially was worth 5 more wins than Chen was over a replacement level pitcher. Chen was only slightly better than replacement level himself, while Greinke was all-star level.

RationalSportsFan
3 years 9 months ago

He would have been the 3rd best on the Tigers, the 4th best on the Rangers, and the 3rd or 4th best on the Yankees. 

In other words, he has been veryeffective these past two years.  It’s not his fault the other Royals’ pitchers sucked.

get_on_up
3 years 9 months ago

Pete, if you are offering action on your position that the Royals lose 91 games next year I am all in.  Where can we settle up at this time next year?

Cory Taylor
3 years 9 months ago

How often do you see a roster bonus in an MLB deal? What’s that about?

3 years 9 months ago

I’m starting to believe the Royals are going to be competitive next year, their offense is barely below the Yankees so they need a slightly better rotation than Sabathia/Colon/Garcia/Nova/Burnett? I think they can wing it with one more piece with some experience. 

Come on Moore, you know you wanna overpay for Jurrjens…

JacksTigers
3 years 9 months ago

Not even close to the Yankees. Not that close to the Tigers. Talk to me in a year or two.

rizdak
3 years 9 months ago

Bruce Chen’s 4.63 SIERA was good for 101st out of 107 SPs who had 150 IP last year. Good job, Royals.

RationalSportsFan
3 years 9 months ago

He’s been worth 4.6 bWAR over the last two years and 2.9 fWAR over the same time period.  Either way, 10 mill is right in his price range.  (Though I would lean more toward bWAR in this case, as Chen is the sort of pitcher who can potentially be underestimated by fWAR’s emphasis on FIP.)

3 years 9 months ago

True, but not too bad of an overpay.  I wouldnt do it, but I doubt the Royals will be complaining about it like the Meche deal.

RationalSportsFan
3 years 9 months ago

Why do you think he is only worth $3mill?  He has pitched the last two years like a guy who is worth considerably more than that.

MB923
3 years 9 months ago

Do you expect him to pitch as well the next 2 years at the age of 35 and 36? Not that $4.5 mil per year for him is awful of course.

RationalSportsFan
3 years 9 months ago

Even if you account for some regression, the money is still reasonable (as you note).  He has been pitched better these last two years than any other two year stretch in his career.  And he is already oldish (for pitchers).  I see no reason to expect him to fall off the cliff completely.

nictonjr
3 years 9 months ago

It’s all perspective.  The Braves are paying 38 yer old Derek Lowe $10 mil to NOT pitch for them.

MB923
3 years 9 months ago

We won’t know until it happens of course, but 2010 was his best season since 2005. It’s crazy how he’s been in the league 13 seasons and over half his career WAR of 8.6 has come the past 2 seasons. (4.6 the past 2 seasons, 4.0 his first 11)

RationalSportsFan
3 years 9 months ago

He’s definitely had a weird career.  If you take his four best years (2000 ATL, 2005, BAL, and 2010-11 KCR) he has 10 bWAR.  In the other nine years combined, he has -1.4 bWAR.  Ridiculous.

Lunchbox45
3 years 9 months ago

money well spent

Wilsonl
3 years 9 months ago

Look @ Zito!