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Wei-Yin Chen trolls Marlins with new uniform number

The highly paid left-hander is swapping his Marlins No. 54 for No. 20 this upcoming season. It’s either a big coincidence...or Chen has a clever sense of humor.

Photo by @chenweiyin0721/Instagram

On Friday night, the Marlins finished assigning uniform numbers to the players participating in their 2019 major league spring training camp in Jupiter next month. The team’s website has all of the details, including non-roster invitees, but let’s focus on the 40-man roster guys who had been waiting on numbers:

  • OF/IF Rosell Herrera (5)
  • RHP Nick Anderson (15)*
  • RHP Riley Ferrell (54)
  • RHP Julian Fernández (59)
  • OF Monte Harrison (63)**
  • RHP Jordan Yamamoto (68)
  • RHP Kyle Keller (72)
  • LHP José Quijada (74)
  • RHP Jorge Guzmán (75)
  • 2B Isan Díaz (76)
  • RHP Merandy González (77)
  • RHP Jordan Holloway (78)

*Obviously, No. 15 belongs to Brian Anderson. Unclear what Nick’s number is at the moment as the typo gets addressed.

**Trevor Richards is switching to No. 36 after wearing No. 63 as a rookie.

You may have noticed something funky there. No. 54 shouldn’t be available—that has belonged to Wei-Yin Chen since he signed with the Marlins three years ago.

Did they release him? Or, somehow, find a trade partner??!?!

Nope.

The No. 20 was most recently worn by left-hander Justin Nicolino from 2016-2017, and most famously worn by Miguel Cabrera as a rookie on the 2003 World Series team.

Riley Ferrell, the Marlins’ Rule 5 Draft acquisition, may have reached an agreement with Chen. Either that or he stumbled into it when the 33-year-old requested a change.

Let’s assume the latter because that would be funnier!

Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Chen’s contract—five years, $80 million guaranteed—was heavily back-loaded. He will take home the highest salary on the Marlins this season...exactly $20 million. Even though he would never admit to it if that was the real motivation, that’s All-Star-caliber trolling from a non-All-Star-caliber pitcher.

Terrific at Marlins Park but terrible on the road, Chen posted a 4.79 ERA/4.43 FIP/4.73 xFIP in 133.1 IP last year. His contract and partially torn ulnar collateral ligament have torpedoed his trade appeal, so the veteran’s only value comes as a stopgap in the starting rotation until talented, controllable arms are ready to supplant him.

Chen’s Marlins No. 20 jersey is not on sale yet, but anybody who wants his No. 54 in XXL can get it now at a steep discount.