Wei-Yin Chen is halfway there. Per the terms of his Marlins contract, the veteran left-hander received an $8 million payment on Saturday, the remainder of his deferred signing bonus. The timing of the transaction represents the approximate midpoint of his five-year deal.
Below is a more detailed breakdown of Jeffrey Loria’s $80 million investment from back in January 2016.
- 2016: $6 million salary
- 2017: $9 million salary; $5 million signing bonus (Nov. 30)
- 2018: $10 million salary; $8 million signing bonus (Jun. 30)
- 2019: $20 million salary
- 2020: $22 million salary
- 2021: $16 million vesting option; Chen qualifies with 180 innings pitched in 2020 or 360 total innings pitched from 2019-2020
Chen had the right to opt out and become a free agent this past offseason, but made the obvious decision not to, considering the lack of demand for 30-something pitchers. Doesn’t help that he has spent nearly half of his Marlins tenure on the disabled list with elbow issues and continues to compete with a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament. The structural damage is not significant enough to require Tommy John surgery, the team says.
Chen is underachieving in a Marlins uniform—6.14 ERA/5.35 FIP/5.39 xFIP in 55 2⁄3 innings this season, 5.09 ERA/4.60 FIP/4.59 xFIP in 212 innings throughout the contract.
The Fish approach the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline with several valuable major league assets. Chen isn’t one of them because of the enormous financial commitment still owed to him.
With rookies Sandy Alcántara, Pablo López and Trevor Richards emerging as viable starters, his place in the rotation—and the active roster—could soon be in jeopardy.