Wei-Yin Chen Signs With Atlantic League’s Long Island Ducks

Eight-year MLB veteran Wei-Yin Chen has signed with the Long Island Ducks of the Atlantic League, the team announced Tuesday. He’ll return to the mound after not pitching anywhere during the 2023 season.

Chen, now 38 years old, was a mainstay in the Orioles’ rotation from 2012-15 when he recorded 706 2/3 frames of 3.72 ERA ball (4.14 FIP, 4.04 SIERA) with an 18.5% strikeout rate, 5.8% walk rate and 38.5% ground-ball rate. The Taiwanese-born lefty came to the O’s on a four-year deal after a five-year run with the Chunichi Dragons of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball. He parlayed his solid showing in Baltimore into a five-year, $80MM contract in Miami that didn’t at all pan out as he or the Marlins hoped.

Chen was active for parts of the first four seasons of that contract, combining for 358 innings with a greatly diminished 5.10 ERA. His average fastball dropped by more than a mile per hour, and while his command remained strong and his strikeout rate slightly improved in Miami, Chen was quite a bit more homer-prone with the Fish than he had been with the O’s. A UCL injury midway through his Marlins tenure wiped out nearly all of his 2017 season. It never required surgery, but Chen still struggled out of the 2018 rotation and in a bullpen role in 2019. The Marlins ate the final year and $22MM on his contract when they released him following the 2019 campaign.

Since leaving the Marlins, Chen signed a minor league deal with the Mariners but never made their roster. He returned to Japan for the 2020-22 seasons, suiting up for the Chiba Lotte Marines and Hanshin Tigers. He was limited to 68 innings with those two teams’ big league clubs but pitched quite well when healthy and on the roster, turning in an ERA well shy of 3.00. Chen didn’t pitch in 2023.

While a big league comeback as he approaches his 39th birthday (July 21) seems like a long shot, it’s not impossible. The Atlantic League is an official partner league of MLB, and we’ve seen plenty of players utilize that setting as a launching pad back to affiliated ball over the years. MLB scouts will surely get looks at him on the mound. A strong enough performance could net him a minor league deal with an MLB club and put him one step away from getting back to the majors. Even if not, he’ll make for a fun comeback story to follow on the indie circuit this season.

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Title: Wei-Yin Chen Signs With Atlantic League’s Long Island Ducks
Author: Steve Adams

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