Marlins pitcher Wei-Yin Chen to start season in the bullpen

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 26: Starting pitcher Wei-Yin Chen #54 of the Miami Marlins throws to a Washington Nationals batter in the first inning at Nationals Park on September 26, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 26: Starting pitcher Wei-Yin Chen #54 of the Miami Marlins throws to a Washington Nationals batter in the first inning at Nationals Park on September 26, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /
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The Miami Marlins have announced that pitcher Wei-Yin Chen will start the season coming out of the bullpen. The move means the rotation just got significantly younger.

The Miami Marlins have decided pitcher Wei-Yin Chen would best serve the pitching staff if he started the season coming out of the bullpen. Chen, who is due $20 million this season, has been one of the more erratic pitchers on the Marlins staff this Spring.

Chen got the news from the coaching staff on Sunday.

"“Given the choice, I’d like to be a starter for the Marlins, because starting is what I’ve always been doing,” Chen said through his interpreter via MLB.com.“It’s more natural and comfortable for me. But, of course, I’m in the bullpen and I’ll try to make the best of the decision. I will not let it affect me mentally. I will look to fit into that role and help the team as much as possible.”"

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Chen’s repositioning as a long reliever means Miami will go with Jose Urena as the team’s Opening Day starter, but after that, who fills in the other four spots in the rotation is up for grabs. The coaching staff and manager Don Mattingly may not announce the remaining starters until Tuesday of this week.

"“With Chen out of the picture, the candidates are Dan Straily, Pablo Lopez, Trevor Richards, Sandy Alcantara and Caleb Smith,” Joe Frisaro wrote.“The Marlins are prepared to keep all five on the big league roster, with one going to the bullpen. Smith’s status remains uncertain because he is recovering from left lat surgery, and he may still open the season on the injured list.”"

Lopez, Richards, and Smith were the talk of Spring Training and the Grapefruit League. Lopex has added velocity on his fastball. Richards has become a more complete pitcher with two new pitches added to his arsenal. Smith has been lights out despite the Lat injury he suffered last season.

I suspect Straily will assume the No. 2 role in the rotation. It wouldn’t surprise me if Mattingly and the organization decide to keep all four of the young arms. Injuries plagued the team last season to the point the team used 13 starters last season.

"“For us, we’re just looking at what’s best for this team, for this organization, to maximize our assets and put ourselves in the best position to win ballgames,” Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill said."

The Marlins begin the 2019 season at home on Thursday against the Colorado Rockies.

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