Free agent pitcher Wei-Yin Chen is searching for a five-year, $100MM contract, according to Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com (on Twitter). At that price, Kubatko adds, it’s clear that the Orioles have moved on to other offseason targets. At the outset of the offseason, MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes projected that Chen would land a five-year deal worth $80MM. Apparently, the Scott Boras client is aiming higher.
Chen, 30, is coming off a nice four-year run with the Orioles which was highlighted by a particularly strong two-year platform in 2014-15. Over the past two seasons, he’s logged a 3.44 ERA with 6.9 K/9 against 1.8 BB/9 to go along with a 40.8 percent ground-ball rate in 377 innings of work. Chen turned down a qualifying offer from the Orioles earlier this offseason, so signing him would require a team to forfeit its first eligible draft pick. That’s a notable disadvantage for Chen compared to quality pitchers remaining on the free agent market such as Mike Leake, Scott Kazmir, and Kenta Maeda. Late last month, Tim took an in-depth look at Chen and speculated on the type of deal he could land.
The Cardinals appeared to be a solid fit for a pitcher like Chen but GM John Mozeliak recently said that the team is unlikely to make a “dynamic” signing at this stage of the offseason. The Giants were known to have some level of interest in Chen, but they are almost definitely out on high-priced pitching after adding Jeff Samardzija and Johnny Cueto this winter.