Wei-Yin Chen Rumors

Orioles Notes: Chen, Davis, Wieters, Bastardo

Orioles executive Dan Duquette says his team attempted to trade for pitching Wednesday, but that attempt fell through, Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun reports. That means the Orioles might not end up accomplishing much more at the Winter Meetings than making a selection in the Rule 5 Draft. “Keep in mind who the Orioles are,” says Duquette. “We’ve got an established pitching staff. We’ve got a strong everyday lineup. We’ve got to fill a few holes. We’re going to look at some options in the major league free-agent market and sign a couple players.” The Orioles have received plenty of trade interest in starter Wei-Yin Chen, Encina writes. Here are more notes on the Orioles.

  • Agent Scott Boras expresses optimism that the Orioles can work out ways to keep Chris Davis and Matt Wieters, Encina reports. Both players are eligible for free agency after the season. “I do think there’s a chance with all players,” Boras says. “Dan and I talk a great deal and, obviously, we have to do our arbitration for annual contracts here soon. I think both players enjoy playing in Baltimore.” Boras says he and Duquette have not talked about a potential extension for Chen.
  • The Orioles discussed a trade with the Phillies for lefty reliever Antonio Bastardo before Philadelphia shipped Bastardo to the Pirates, Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com tweets. (That’s not the unconsummated pitching trade that Duquette alluded to, Kubatko clarifies in a reply.) Even with the departure of Andrew Miller, the Orioles already have several good lefties in Zach Britton, T.J. McFarland and Brian Matusz, although Britton is slated to close and MacFarland could pitch in the Triple-A rotation.

Orioles Receiving Interest In Wei-Yin Chen, Discussed Trade With Angels

The Orioles feel trade interest in left-hander Wei-Yin Chen is “very high,” as they’ve received more calls about Chen than any other player on their 25-man roster, Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports.

The O’s are listening to offers since Chen is a free agent after the 2015 season, though they’re not shopping the southpaw.  In fact, Connolly notes that Chen (after Chris Tillman and Kevin Gausman) is the least-likeliest Oriole starter to be traded since he is coming off a strong season and is the rotation’s only lefty.  Though Chen only comes with one year of control, the Orioles could acquire “a healthy return of either prospects or immediate major league help,” one talent evaluator tells Connolly.

The Angels were one team that had particular interest in Chen, and they discussed a deal with the O’s that would’ve seen second baseman Howie Kendrick go to Baltimore.  The Orioles ultimately rejected the offer and talks between the two sides appear to be finished, Connolly reports, as the Halos are apparently no longer looking to deal Kendrick for pitching depth.

In October, the O’s made the easy call to exercise their $4.75MM option on Chen’s services for 2015.  Chen posted a 3.54 ERA, 3.89 K/BB and 6.6 K/9 over 185 2/3 IP for Baltimore, and he’s been a solid contributor in all three of his seasons with the Orioles, amassing 6.7 fWAR/6.2 rWAR in that span.  Another good year could put the 29-year-old in position for a nice multiyear contract in free agency next offseason, which could put Chen out of Baltimore’s price range, especially since he’s represented by Scott Boras.

Bud Norris has also received some trade interest, Connolly reports, and it’s safe to assume the Orioles would be much more open to dealing Norris than Chen.  While Norris is also coming off a solid season, he hasn’t been as consistent as Chen over the last three seasons, plus he’s much pricier — MLBTR’s Matt Swartz projects Norris for an $8.7MM salary via arbitration this winter.


Orioles Exercise Options On Chen, O’Day; Decline Options On Markakis, Hundley

The Orioles announced that they have exercised their club options on left-hander Wei-Yin Chen ($4.75MM) and right-hander Darren O’Day ($4.25MM). Additionally, Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com tweets that the team has declined its half of Nick Markakis‘ $17.5MM mutual option (in favor of a $2MM buyout) and declined Nick Hundley‘s $5MM option.

The decision to pick up the options on Chen and O’Day was an easy one, as both appear to be bargain rates relative to the level of production of each pitcher. Chen, a 29-year-old left-hander signed out of Taiwan, has been solid in three seasons for the Orioles and enjoyed his best year in 2014. In 185 2/3 innings in the Baltimore rotation, he pitched to a 3.54 ERA with 6.6 K/9, 1.7 BB/9 and a 41 percent ground-ball rate. In three years with the O’s, he’s totaled a 3.86 ERA in 515 1/3 innings while playing on a three-year, $11.388MM contract.

O’Day, who turned 32 last week, has been an integral part of the Orioles’ bullpen over the past three seasons but turned in his best work this year. Though he has a 2.05 ERA over 197 2/3 total innings in Baltimore, he pitched to a 1.70 mark this year to go along with 9.6 K/9, 2.5 BB/9 and a 44.6 percent ground-ball rate.

Markakis has been with the Orioles since being selected with the seventh overall pick in the 2003 draft. In nine seasons with Baltimore, he’s posted a cumulative line of .290/.358/.435. This past season, he posted a .276/.342/.386 line with 14 homers and a total of 2.5 fWAR/2.1 rWAR — a solid rebound campaign as he hits the open market for the first time. First, however, the O’s will have to decide whether or not to make him a $15.3MM qualifying offer. (I recently profiled Markakis and pegged him for a four-year deal without a QO and three years if he gets one.)

Hundley, 31, was acquired in exchange for lefty Troy Patton after Matt Wieters went down for the season due to Tommy John surgery. In 50 games and 174 plate appearances with the O’s, the former Padre batted .233/.273/.352 with five homers. He caught 19 percent of opposing base-stealers and graded out as a slightly above-average pitch-framer, per Baseball Prospectus.



Orioles Notes: Hardy, Cruz, Chen, Santana

Let's take a look at a few notes out of Orioles camp to start out the day:  …

  • Late last week, Baltimore had an in-person meeting with J.J. Hardy's agent regarding the initiation of extension discussions, reports Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun (via Twitter). Though both sides have indicated an interest at keeping the shortstop off of next year's free agent market, Hardy said recently that no talks had taken place.
  • Baltimore is expected to announce later today that Nelson Cruz has signed a one-year deal and passed his physical, reports Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com. A press conference is likely to occur tomorrow.
  • Southpaw starter Wei-Yin Chen, who inked a three-year deal out of Taiwan before the 2012 season, is set to become a free agent after either 2014 or 2015, says Kubatko. (His deal contains a $4.75MM club option with a $372K buyout for 2015.) Though Chen's Baseball-Reference page indicates that he would qualify for arbitration beginning next year, and stay under club control through 2017, that is not the case.
  • Multiple sources tell Kubatko that the O's are not in on free agent starter Ervin Santana. The club would need only sacrifice its third-round pick to ink Santana or one of the other remaining free agents tied to draft compensation (Kendrys Morales and Stephen Drew), having already given up its first and second to land Cruz and Ubaldo Jimenez.

AL East Notes: Orioles, Yankees, Romero

The home run by the Athletics' Adam Rosales that never was on Wednesday could become the shot heard around the world in the debate over instant replay. Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle are both advocating for a five-man umpiring crew. Haudricourt rebuts arguments that it is too expensive to add a fifth umpire or too time consuming to expand replay noting MLB is an $8B industry and the discussions over blown calls waste more time than a replay. Slusser supports a fifth umpire to monitor games from a booth in the press box and a neutral crew in New York of perhaps three people to have access to all available replay angles and make the final call on all video reviews. John Shea, Slusser's colleague at the Chronicle, doesn't believe expanded replay will help immediately because, until umpires are better held accountable for their errors, you cannot trust the people overseeing the system. Let's review the news from the American League East:

  • Wei-Yin Chen left today's game with what the Orioles are calling a strained right oblique although the lefty hopes it is only a cramp and will be evaluated on their off day, tweets Britt Ghiroli of MLB.com. The Orioles have several in-house options, if Chen lands on the disabled list, tweets CSNBaltimore.com's Rich Dubroff, including Jair Jurrjens, who has a June 15 opt-out clause. Jake Arrieta, another possible in-house candidate, did not make his scheduled start in Triple-A today because of a tender shoulder, reports Roch Kubatko of MASN.com (via Twitter)
  • The Yankees will soon face some tough decisions regarding roster spots and playing time as several of their injured players are nearing a return to action, writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
  • The Blue Jays will remain patient with Ricky Romero because of the $23.1MM guaranteed the left-hander through 2015, even if it is just to make him attractive in a trade, according to the Toronto Star's Richard Griffin. That patience will be further tested by Romero's dismal debut at Triple-A Buffalo yesterday: six runs allowed on ten hits with five walks, a balk, and a wild pitch in 3 2/3 innings. "I guess it’s a little disappointing to see those numbers but I know he’s still working hard and I still think he’s on the right path,” Blue Jays pitching coach Pete Walker told Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca.

East Notes: Red Sox, Napoli, Chen, Stanton

The Red Sox have dropped three straight heading into tonight's game against the Blue Jays, but they find themselves very much in the AL East mix early in the season.  Boston's front office took some criticism this offseason for their moves, but so far, things are going well for them as their acquisitions are paying off.  Here's more on that and other notes out of the AL and NL East..

  • Jim Bowden of ESPN.com (Insider sub. req'd) ran down his top ten free agent signings of the winter and the Red Sox make the list twice thanks to Mike Napoli and Ryan Dempster.  Napoli's deal was in flux for some time thanks to hip troubles, but his current performance could push Boston to consider giving him back his original three-year, $39MM pact.  Dempster, meanwhile, turned down a more lucrative offer from the Brewers and seems to have found a home in Boston where he turned in a 2.93 ERA with 11.5 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9 through seven starts.
  • After switching from Octagon to agent Scott Boras, Orioles pitcher Wei-Yin Chen says that the club has yet to approach him about an extension, writes Rich Dubroff of CSNBaltimore.com.  “I believe [Boras] is a really professional agent and he’s not only helped me on the field, but off the field, too,” Chen said through an interpreter. “I trust him, and I think I will have a better career with him.
  • Marlins star Giancarlo Stanton has been the subject of trade speculation for months, but manager Mike Redmond still isn't sure when he'll be back in action after his recent hamstring injury, tweets Joe Capozzi of The Palm Beach Post.  “We still don’t have time frame for him He’s still a ways off," said the skipper.

Wei-Yin Chen Hires Scott Boras

Orioles southpaw Wei-Yin Chen has hired Scott Boras as his agent, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (on Twitter). Chen had previously been represented by Octagon.

The 27-year-old Taiwanese import signed a three-year, $11.388MM contract with the Orioles prior to the 2012 campaign and played an integral part in the team's surprising playoff berth. Chen made 32 starts and racked up 192 2/3 innings, averaging 5.5 strikeouts and 3.0 walks per nine innings pitched, which was good enough to earn him a fourth-place finish in the AL Rookie of the Year voting.

Chen isn't the only young pitcher that Boras has added to his clientele this year. Back in February, Marlins rookie Jose Fernandez hired Boras as well. For information on more than 1700 players, check out MLBTR's Agency Database.


Quick Hits: Cain, Garland, Guillen, Flores, Chen

Spring Training complexes in Florida and Arizona are starting to come alive with baseball activity, but there are meaningful games already being played all across the country. Stanford right-hander Mark Appel – the current favorite to go first overall in this year's draft – allowed just two hits and one run in seven innings against Vanderbilt yesterday, kicking off the NCAA baseball season. Here's the latest from around the big leagues…

  • “We’d all like something resolved by the end of spring training,” said Matt Cain to Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com when asked about a contract extension. “I don’t think either side wants that to linger into the season.” Cain has already indicated that he will not give the Giants a hometown discount after already signing one team friendly contract.
  • Jon Garland will take his physical on Monday, reports Paul Hoynes of The Cleveland-Plain Dealer (on Twitter). Garland agreed to a minor league deal with the Indians earlier this week, but the physical is far from routine after shoulder surgery.
  • Carlos Guillen told MLB.com's Greg Johns that he had other opportunities, but chose to return to the Mariners on a minor league contract. "I decided to come here because this is my first house," he said. "I know the city, and I'm happy to be back."
  • Jesus Flores told Amanda Comak of The Washington Times that he hadn't planned on being a backup catcher at this point of his career, but asking the Nationals for a trade is "not on [his] mind." The 27-year-old Flores will backup Wilson Ramos this season.
  • Left-hander Wei-Yin Chen hasn't even thrown a pitch since signing a three-year, sub-$12MM deal with Orioles earlier this offseason, but he's already told Eduardo A. Encina of The Baltimore Sun that he hopes to stay in MLB for the next ten years (Twitter link).
  • Rod Barajas told MLB.com's Tom Singer that he's excited to be reunited with A.J. Burnett. Barajas and Burnett played together with the Blue Jays before both landing with the Pirates this offseason.

Orioles Notes: Chen, Roberts, Peterson

Luke Scott hit 84 home runs with the Orioles from 2008-11, but his next homer will come as a member of the Tampa Bay Rays. The 33-year-old agreed to terms with the Rays earlier today. Here's the latest on his former team… 

  • Left-hander Wei-Yin Chen has “a good fastball and very good control and a good breaking ball,” GM Dan Duquette told Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun. Chen is a polished pitcher with the physical skills to become a frontline starter, Duquette said. The GM is looking to add durable arms to his rotation, since Jeremy Guthrie was the lone Baltimore pitcher to reach the 200-inning threshold in 2011.
  • The Orioles remain concerned about Brian Roberts’ health and are looking for a leadoff hitter, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweets. He suggests Endy Chavez projects as the team’s leadoff hitter at this point.
  • The Orioles have been negotiating with former Mets, Brewers and Athletics pitching coach Rick Peterson for more than a week about a pitching role within the organization, Connolly tweets. Duquette remains hopeful that the sides will agree to a deal.

Orioles Sign Wei-Yin Chen

The Orioles reached an agreement with lefty Wei-Yin Chen on a three-year deal worth less than $12MM, tweets Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun.  The Orioles have since announced the deal, noting that Chen is the first Taiwanese player in team history and the contract includes a club option for 2015.

As a Taiwanese player in Nippon Professional Baseball, Chen had free agency negotiated into his contract with the Chunichi Dragons.  Last year in Japan, Chen posted a 2.68 ERA, 5.1 K/9, 1.7 BB/9, and 0.49 HR/9 in 164 2/3 innings.  He ranked 19th on Keith Law's top 50 free agents list.  Law offered a positive scouting report, concluding that Chen "offers more upside than the typical NPB refugee, both due to age and the chance for the slider to become a consistently plus pitch."  Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette described Chen in a statement: "Chen works off of a 92-94 mile per hour fastball and he uses a hard, slurve-like breaking ball as an out-pitch.  He has exceptional command and we like the quality of his pitches to help our team."

Duquette has gone the international route to supplement his rotation, having already added an NPB starter in December in Tsuyoshi Wada.

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports first reported that the Orioles were close to a multiyear deal with Chen.