Chen, a 28-year old from Taiwan, has 4 years of major league experience under his belt, all with the Baltimore Orioles. His Major League career started a little rough, posting ERA’s of 4.02 and 4.07 in his first two seasons, but since then, Chen has been one of the better pitchers in the American League. Chen posted an ERA of 3.54 in 2014 and 3.34 in 2015 with a combined WAR of 5.6 between the two years. Chen’s stats will only get better, as the shift from AL to the NL always improves pitchers’ stats and Chen now gets to pitch in Miami, one of the biggest ballparks in the MLB. Camden Yards, the home park for the Orioles, is one of smallest.
This signing is one of the more surprising of the offseason. There was hint that the Marlins were interested in the Taiwanese southpaw, but a tanking team like the Marlins with Jeffrey Loria were never suspected to actually sign Chen. Teams like the Cardinals, Nationals, and even the Blue Jays were thought to be the major contenders in the fight for Chen. For these teams, they now must look to starters like Yovani Gallardo, Doug Fister, and Mike Minor for starting pitching help.
This deal doesn’t make the Marlins even close to a contender, and they never will be without more major signings like this one. The Marlins lack a solid foundation outside of the injury-prone Giancarlo Stanton and Jose Fernandez and have little talent coming out of the minors, so owner Jeffrey Loria must be willing to trade for prospects or cough up some money to make this team any good.