Market Fresh: Bruce Chen

brett401
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I’ve looked at a few options for the Royals fifth starter so far this month, but I’ve yet to discuss one that we already know to be an option.

He’s an option because, well, he’s been an option in each of the last two seasons for the Royals.

So while perhaps Jeff Francis or Freddy Garcia may be viable options to take the hill once or twice a week, they’ve had their share of injuries and that makes it difficult to trust them for a full season, especially when the 2011 season is one in which the Royals really need to soak up some innings.

What else does he bring to the table?

Chen has been a minor league free agent signing by the Royals prior to both the 2009 and 2010 seasons.  After a solid (if unspectacular) 2010 where Chen led the Royals pitchers in victories (12), he’s due for a major league deal.  And frankly, he’s earned it.

YearTmWLERAGGSIPERA+WHIPH/9HR/9BB/9SO/9SO/BB
1998ATL203.984420.11061.57410.21.34.07.51.89
1999ATL225.4716751.0821.2756.71.94.87.91.67
2000TOT743.293715134.01421.2097.81.23.17.52.43
2000ATL402.5022039.21851.3617.90.94.37.31.68
2000PHI343.63151594.11301.1457.71.32.67.62.96
2001TOT774.872727146.0871.4049.01.83.67.82.14
2001PHI455.00161686.1861.4029.42.03.28.22.55
2001NYM324.68111159.2901.4088.41.54.27.11.68
2002TOT255.5655677.2781.6489.81.95.09.31.86
2002NYM000.00100.21.50013.50.00.00.0
2002MON236.9915537.1611.87511.32.25.510.41.87
2002CIN024.3139139.21011.4378.41.64.58.41.85
2003TOT015.5516224.1841.4799.62.23.77.42.00
2003HOU006.0011012.0751.83310.51.56.06.01.00
2003BOS015.115212.1941.1358.82.91.58.86.00
2004BAL213.028747.21531.1547.41.33.06.02.00
2005BAL13103.833432197.11131.2678.51.52.96.12.11
2006BAL076.93401298.2661.74312.52.63.26.42.00
2007TEX007.205010.0651.7009.92.75.46.31.17
2009KCR165.7817962.1771.58810.71.73.66.51.80
2010KCR1274.173323140.11011.3758.71.13.76.31.72
12 Seasons48504.642921441009.2951.4009.11.63.57.01.98
162 Game Avg.784.644622157951.4009.11.63.57.01.98
WLERAGGSIPERA+WHIPH/9HR/9BB/9SO/9SO/BB
ATL (3 yrs)824.144211111.01091.3607.81.54.57.61.71
BAL (3 yrs)15184.618251343.2961.3889.51.83.06.22.06
KCR (2 yrs)13134.665032202.2921.4419.31.33.66.41.74
NYM (2 yrs)324.62121160.1921.4098.51.54.27.01.68
PHI (2 yrs)794.283131180.21051.2688.51.62.97.92.74
BOS (1 yr)015.115212.1941.1358.82.91.58.86.00
TEX (1 yr)007.205010.0651.7009.92.75.46.31.17
MON (1 yr)236.9915537.1611.87511.32.25.510.41.87
CIN (1 yr)024.3139139.21011.4378.41.64.58.41.85
HOU (1 yr)006.0011012.0751.83310.51.56.06.01.00
NL (6 yrs)20184.5715059441.0971.3928.61.63.97.92.02
AL (7 yrs)28324.6814285568.2941.4079.41.63.26.31.95

Chen has bounced all over the map in his baseball journey.  He’s primarily been used as the typical lefty swingman, making spot starts when injuries or scheduling dictates, and often stepping in for a long-term starting role, as he did in 2010.  As a Royal, he has performed right in line with his career numbers.

He’s not very flashy, and he’s a touch below average based on ERA+, but he’s generally a decent option.

There were times in relief that Chen struggled with command and control, but as a starter, he evened things out and was an above average pitcher when it was all said and done.

Chen’s performance, durability, flexibility and left-handedness deserve a major league contract – but he’s been looking for an opportunity to pick up a two year deal.  For a decent, though not irreplaceable player, that’s not a horrible demand, but it’s not one that a team is likely going to cave into (not even the Royals).  I’d suggest that Chen is probably the favorite out of all the other options on the market, largely due to familiarity, both his with the Royals and theirs with him.

Also he’s a former Brave, but anyway…

One million dollars for 2011 and incentives to bump it up to two?  Add a mutual option for 2012 maybe?  What the heck, I say it’s a good idea.  C’mon Chen!

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