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Wei-Yin Chen sees Marlins as 'very competitive team'

Chen's deal includes an opt-out after the second season.

Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

MIAMI -- Just a day after agreeing to an extension with second baseman Dee Gordon, the Marlins signed free agent Wei-Yin Chen to a five-year, $80 million deal that includes a vesting option for 2021, the team announced.

Chen, a Taiwan native and veteran left-handed starter, is expected to be the Marlins' No. 2 starter in the rotation behind Jose Fernandez.

"Winning games matters and we haven't won enough of them," President David Samson said. "The message to our fans is clear, that we want to add to the core we have to help win more games. Having him complement this team is something we're very excited about."

Last season with the Orioles, Chen pitched to a 3.34 ERA, the best in his career, over 31 starts. His ERA was seventh-best in the American League and fourth-best among left-handed pitchers.

Chen, 30, becomes the first pitcher to sign a long-term deal with the Marlins since Mark Buehrle was signed at the 2012 Winter Meetings. His deal reportedly includes an opt-out after the second season.

"While he ranked among the best starters in the American League over the past few seasons, I truly believe his best has yet to come," Marlins Owner Jeffrey Loria said in a statement Tuesday.

Marlins President of Baseball Operations Michael Hill said Chen was a immediately a target once the organization started searching for additional starting pitching.

"We love the starting pitching mix we have, but we really wanted to add a veteran who day in and day out would give us an opportunity to win," Hill said. "[Chen] has been a consistent producer. He takes the ball every five days and gives his club an opportunity to win."

During his introductory press conference at Marlins Park on Tuesday, Chen said he is fond of the core the Marlins have in place and hopes to help the organization become competitive.

"I see this team as a very competitive team," Chen said through a translator. "We have a lot of young players."

Chen will be the first Taiwanese player in Marlins history and is one of eight in baseball history. He made his 100th career start last June, joining Chien-Ming Wang as the only Taiwanese pitchers to reach that mark.

Over his final 28 starts of the regular season, Chen walked 33 batters over 176.2 innings, second among qualifying American League starters in walks per nine innings over that span. His 35 quality starts over the last two seasons is tied for seventh among AL starting pitchers.

Before the start of the 2012 season, Chen signed with the Orioles as a non-drafted free agent. He made at least 31 starts in three of his four seasons in Baltimore and pitched for the Chunichi Dragons in Nippon Professional Baseball before joining the Orioles.