Wei-Yin Chen looked better in his last appearance on the mound for the Miami Marlins. The 33-year-old reliever did not allow a run on Saturday at Philadelphia.
There has been some improvement in the way Wei-Yin Chen looked on the mound in his last outing this past weekend against the Philadelphia Phillies. The 33-year-old reliever did not allow a run, which is a glowing celebration for the Marlins organization.
While he still has plenty of work to improve on the bump, there is a reason for optimism within the front office and coaching staff.
“Definitely, [Saturday] was encouraging,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said.
It’s odd to hear Mattingly say that since nothing the starter-turned-reliever has done this spring or season has been encouraging, drawing the ire of Marlins fans and national media that wonder out loud whether keeping Chen around because of his exorbitant salary is really worth it. Even with the “better” control on the mound from Saturday, Chen still owns a 13.03 ERA this season.
By contrast, while the Marlins still must deal with Chen and work him in, delicately, there are others in the bullpen who are showing they belong in the Show and are contributing consistently.
Righty Nick Anderson is becoming a go-to pitcher this season. The right-hander, according to Wells Dusenbury of sun-sentinel.com, has the second-highest strikeout rate of all relievers in the Majors. He has pitched 12.1 innings and has 25 strikeouts while only walking two batters. He owns a 2.19 ERA.
The Marlins thought moving Chen to the bullpen would allow him to warm up more, cut down on the innings he pitched and would also aid the team in getting young arms in the rotation after they showed so much promise this spring.
“Chen is a long-time starter but is currently in a long-relief role. He went six days between appearances, and has appeared in seven games overall,” Joe Frisaro noted.
Chen signed with the Marlins in 2016 for a deal worth $80 million. The Marlins haven’t collected anything close to the investment made on the former Baltimore Orioles starter.
“We’re just identifying his strengths, and making sure we’re pitching to those, and using his weapons in coordination with the way his pitches set up,” Don Mattingly said.
I am still of the opinion the team will look to move Chen at the trade deadline. He could still be released as well, but the team eats his 2019 and 2020 salary which totals over $40 million. He could also be released after the season. The variables are all tied to what the front office wants to do with a high-priced pitcher this regime did not sign off on.
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The old Jeffrey Loria ownership and management haunts this team every time Chen takes the mound.