Miami is known to be seeking starting pitching this winter and the organization has publicly said it will explore upgrades via free agency or potential trades. Wei-Yin Chen has not been linked to the Marlins, but the club has expressed interest in him, according to FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal.
An example of how that dynamic could work: #Marlins like Chen. But if $$$ get too big, they might trade Ozuna for right pitcher instead.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 2, 2015
Chen, 30, could be viewed favorably by the Marlins because he has a notable amount of experience. Over 191.1 innings with the Orioles last season, Chen pitched to a 3.34 ERA and 4.16 FIP. He has tossed at least 137.0 innings in each of his four seasons in Baltimore and has been able to remain consistent and healthy.
If the Marlins add Chen, they would also be adding a left-handed starter to their rotation. Justin Nicolino and Adam Conley could compete for rotation spots during spring training, however the Marlins might prefer to keep both in Triple-A as reinforcements should one of their starting five go down.
Jose Fernandez, Jarred Cosart and Tom Koehler appear to have spots in the rotation heading into 2015, and the Marlins have expressed a desire to add a pair of arms. Chen could be slotted in the two or three spot in the rotation but, as Rosenthal notes, might be too expensive.
J.A. Happ and David Price are among the free agent starters to be signed to this point in the off-season, and both have received large deals. Happ is earning $12 million annually, while Price just received a seven-year, $217 million contract from the Red Sox. Chen could demand something in between, and there is a chance the Marlins do not want to invest that much in one starter.
Miami could pursue middle tier free agent pitchers, which include Dough Fister and Yovani Gallardo. The club might upgrade the back of its bullpen and add depth to its lineup and bench, and as a result Chen might prove to be too costly.
Chen would be a valuable addition to the Marlins' starting rotation. But it is more likely the Marlins move Ozuna for a young arm than invest a significant amount of money in one free agent starter.