RHP Wei-Yin Chen Granted Outright Release: Marlins Still Owe

DENVER, CO - AUGUST 17: Wei-Yin Chen #20 of the Miami Marlins pitches against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on August 17, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - AUGUST 17: Wei-Yin Chen #20 of the Miami Marlins pitches against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on August 17, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) /

Five days after being designated for assignment, right-handed starter turned reliever Wei-Yin Chen was granted his outright release by the Miami Marlins.

In his four seasons with the Baltimore Orioles, Wei-Yin Chen was 46-32 with a 3.72 ERA and a 1.252 WHIP. The Marlins paid for an elite pitcher, hoping for Chen to reprise his performance level for at least five more seasons. Chen has now completed four seasons of his five-year, $80 million deal, signed prior to the 2016 campaign.

Chen’s time with Miami was snakebit from the start. He never put together a full healthy season. The only time he rated above replacement level was in 2017, when he was held to only 33 innings before missing the rest of the season with an injury.

The other three campaigns finished with a collective -1.6 WAR, as Chen closed the Marlins chapter of his career with a 13-19 record, a 5.10 ERA, and a 1.327 WHIP.

As noted by Craig Mish, Miami near-literally burned $22 million with this move. It wasn’t just to show the fan base that the ownership group means business. It was also a move that coincided with the Marlins protecting a bunch of guys from double- and single-A. One of those prospects was important enough for this move to happen.

RHP’s Sixto Sanchez and Edward Cabrera, 1B Lewin Diaz, and SS Jazz Chisholm all were moved to the protected 40-man roster from the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp, Miami’s double-A club. These moves were already expected.

The move that was probably the ultimate reason for Chen’s DFA was the protection of single-A RHP Humberto Mejia, from the high-A Jupiter Hammerheads. Mejia, and the other four, really, were protected from the upcoming rule 5 draft. Last season with Jupiter and the Clinton LumberKings, Mejia was 5-2 with a 2.09 ERA, a 0.897 WHIP, and 89 K’s in 90 1/3 innings.

To rephrase, this wasn’t a move to save money, obviously. It was the Marlins spending $22 million to protect Mejia. It seems they may have some plans for this guy.

Other Historical Marlins Transactions “On This Date”

2013 – The Marlins hired Jeff McAvoy as the Scouting Director and Mike Berger as a Vice President and assistant GM. Two years later, McAvoy was promoted to VP of player personnel and Berger was promoted to GM.

2018 – Reliever Ben Meyer was outrighted to the Triple-A New Orleans Baby Cakes, OF Braxton Lee was outrighted to the Jumbo Shrimp, and Derek Dietrich was outright but refused assignment, eventually signing with the Cincinnati Reds. For a time there, Dietrich was actively competing for the National League home run title before injury brought those hopes down.

Marlins Birthdays

Right-handed reliever Michael Rios (48) was a 61st round choice of the Marlins in 1993, but didn’t sign. He later pitched in eight games for the Southern Oregon A’s in the low-A Northwest League.

Drafted in the sixth round of the 1990 draft by the New York Yankees, Sam Militello (50) played the 1995 season with the High-A Brevard County Manatees, but walked 20 (and struck out 18) in 10 innings.

Shortstop Luis Bryan (29) spent the 2010 season between GCL and the Jamestown Jammers, going 25-for-113 over 35 games.

Third baseman Carlos Cuevas (28) played for the DSL in 2010 and 2011, slashing .204/.343/.281 in 71 contests.

The Marlins chose RHP Jeff Fulchino (40) in the eighth round in 2001, and he eventually made his major league debut with the Marlins in 2006. He walked the only batter he faced, and eventually joined the Kansas City Royals, the Houston Astros, and the San Diego Padres for a few more major league reps.

Infielder Anthony Gomez (29) was the Marlins sixth round pick in 2012. He remained with the system until 2014, slashing .255/.294/.312 between the Jammers, the Greensboro Grasshoppers, and the Hammerheads.

More from Marlins News

LHP Matt Tracy (31) came up through the Yankees system, but spent a large part of the 2016 campaign with the Hammerheads and the Jacksonville Suns.

LHP Logan Boyd (26) was a 19th round selection of the Boston Red Sox in 2015. In 2018, he was 0-2 with a 2.81 ERA in three starts for the Batavia Muckdogs.

Center fielder Zach Sullivan (24) was Miami’s 14th round pick in 2014. He played five seasons in the system, between the GCL Marlins, the Grasshoppers, and the Hammerheads. In total, he slashed .205/.259/.289.

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