The Marlins have reached agreement on a 5-year, $80 million contract with free-agent left-hander Wei-Yin Chen, as first reported by Buster Olney of ESPN.com. The deal includes a vesting option for a sixth season that can bring its total value to $96 million, as well as an opt-out after two seasons.
Chen, 30, provides a proven second starter for the Marlins behind Jose Fernandez, joining a rotation mix that currently includes Tom Koehler, Jarrod Cosart, Adam Conley and Justin Nicolino. Chen drew interest from multiple clubs this winter, including the Royals and Yankees, but will head south on a deal that will pay him the same amount that Mike Leake got from the Cardinals last month.
Miami was known to be in the market for veteran starters this winter and has been linked to bounceback options like Cliff Lee, Doug Fister and Tim Lincecum. The surprising signing of Chen likely does not eliminate the Marlins from bringing in another starter, though Chen will almost undoubtedly be the most significant addition of the offseason for Miami.
In four seasons with the Orioles, Chen has posted a 46-32 record and solid 3.72 ERA in 117 starts. He was 11-8 with a 3.34 ERA last season, though Baltimore decided to prioritize trying to re-sign fellow free agents Matt Wieters, Darren O'Day and Chris Davis, causing Chen to look for a new home.