After another awful outing and growing concern that he is damaging the Miami Marlins bullpen, the front office must make a decision on Wei-Yin Chen.
Stop me if you have heard this before. I know this is going to be hard to believe, but the Miami Marlins got another terrible outing from Wei-Yin Chen. In a 14-0 loss at Cincinnati on Tuesday night, the starting pitcher turned reliever cannot seem to get on track and blew up, having a historically bad night on the mound.
Is Chen, who is the highest paid player on the Marlins roster, hurting the pitching staff and therefore, hurting the Major League team. Is his presence in the organization taking a roster spot away from a young and upcoming player?
Those questions have lingered since before Spring Training, but have now ramped up even more. This is an albatross for the Marlins, one that must be solved sooner rather than later.
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"“$42 million is a hefty price tag. There’s no getting around it,” Sun-Sentinel.com writer Wells Dusenbury wrote on his Twitter account. “But if Chen continues to get blown up every appearance, I just don’t know what purpose he serves on this team.”"
Kevin Kraczkowski of Marlin Maniac took it a step further, chronicling the loss and the performance on the mound and how an escalating ERA and woeful performance made fans and the media overlook the fact the team’s No. 1 starter, Jose Urena, has struggled in three starts this season.
"“In the just-completed game, Chen surrendered four home runs and watched his earned run average balloon to 24.75 on the season. When it was all said and done, he had allowed 10 earned runs on seven hits, two walks, an HBP, and an error over only two innings,” he wrote.“Chen’s WHIP is now 3.750, his opposing batting average is .455, and although four innings is still a small sample size, His 125 total pitches would, under a closer-to-average pitcher, amount to eight or nine innings.”"
The hefty price tag of a contract the current ownership group did not agree to with Chen in free agency in 2016 plays into the decision on the present and the future. By the way, Michael Hill, the Marlins president of baseball operations, was on the front office staff of the Jeffrey Loria-owned team. He was part of the deal that was made.
Per spotrac.com, Chen signed a 5 year, $80,000,000 contract with the Marlins, including a $13,000,000 signing bonus, $80,000,000 guaranteed, and an annual average salary of $16,000,000. In 2019, Chen will earn a base salary of $20,000,000, while carrying a total salary of $20,000,000. The thought was he would be a solid No. 2 starter behind Jose Fernandez.
For a franchise that is hell-bent on having one of the smallest payrolls in MLB, this is sickening. There has to be an alternative to such a deal. The question of Chen’s purpose with the team was brought up recently in a story by Joe Frisaro of MLB.com. Chen has been a topic at various times in his popular “InBox” piece. This time, a fan asked if he would be released.
"“Foremost, Chen is making $20 million this season, and $22 million in 2020. So if the Marlins just release him, they are still on the hook for the remainder of his contract,” Frisaro added.“Yes, it would free up a 40-man roster space, but first, the Marlins should exhaust every possible alternative. Chen can add value by logging valuable innings, and making some starts, which would assist in managing the innings of the younger pitchers.”"
Just a quick note, Frisaro wrote his story prior to the meltdown on Tuesday night.
The Marlins are now 3-7 on the young season with a rotation that is young but could be exciting. The bullpen has shown signs of early improvement with one caveat. Chen is hurting this team on the mound and financially. Sometimes, you just have to cut ties and deal with the fallout.
Losing $42 million is a big decision to make. Watching your bullpen implode because of one arm that is doing nothing for your staff is a great loss than cash alone.