KC Royals Interested In Orioles Starter Wei-Yin Chen


The KC Royals rumor mill continues to connect them to starting pitching. The latest iteration comes from CBS Sports insider Jon Heyman who has connected the Kansas City Royals to former Orioles lefty Wei-Yin Chen.

The 30-year-old Chen is a KC Royals kind of pitcher. Chen has been very consistent since joining the Orioles from Nippon Professional Baseball (Japan) in 2011. Chen’s best season came in 2015 when he went 11-8 with a 3.34 ERA in 191.1 innings. Over his four-year career, Wei-Yin Chen has a 46-32 record, with a 3.72 ERA, 7.0 K/9, and a solid 110 OPS+ (10% better than a league average pitcher).

Chen, however, will not come cheap. He is said to be asking for a 5-year, $100 million deal according to Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com:

This report followed Heyman’s story at CBSports.com, so the KC Royals might be similarly priced out of Chen’s market. Certainly, Kansas City Royals fans would have to expect that signing Wei-Yin Chen would kill any hope of bring back Alex Gordon.

While Chen would be a nice fit in the KC Royals rotation as a control pitcher who misses more bats than you would expect due to his 93 mph fastball and 92 mph sinker, I would prefer general manager Dayton Moore pony up the cash to bring back Alex Gordon if Chen can command anywhere close to his asking price.

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According to Heyman, the Kansas City Royals have made a four-year lowball offer to Gordon that isn’t anywhere close to the $20 million per season that he’s reportedly seeking. In the same piece, he also reports that the Royals are talking to catcher Salvador Perez about an extension.

In short, it appears that Dayton Moore is gauging prices on various options on how to invest his resources this winter. The offer to Alex Gordon looks like a placeholder bid that he doesn’t expect Gordon to take, but trying to stay in the game in hopes that his price will slide like James Shields last winter and Ervin Santana in 2014. I’m guessing the idea is to make a bid to let Gordon know KC is interested, but to make it low enough to prevent Gordon’s agent from using it to pressure other interested parties.

Next: Kansas City Royals Bargain Rotation Targets

At this point, I will be surprised if the KC Royals make any kind of significant move in free-agency, or in terms of contract extensions, until they are certain Alex Gordon is out of reach. Until such time, Dayton Moore seems he will simply tread water in the market.