Not that there was ever any doubt, but Wei-Yin Chen — perhaps the most regrettable free-agent signing in franchise history — has decided to collect his $65 million and remain a Marlin.
The oft-injured lefty made it official, informing the club that he was not opting out of his contract, sources said.
For a team that is looking to slash payroll as part of a rebuilding plan, erasing Chen’s tab might have allowed the Marlins to keep Giancarlo Stanton and others.
But, in Chen, the Marlins are stuck with a very expensive lemon.
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Chen is scheduled to make $18 million next season, $20 million in 2019 and $22 million in 2020. He’ll also receive bonuses, bringing the total to $65 million. That’s a heavy burden for a player that the payroll-challenged Marlins aren’t even sure can contribute. The Marlins are trying to lower payroll to about $90 million, with Stanton, Dee Gordon and Martin Prado heading the list of players they are attempting to deal.
Since signing a five-year, $80 million contract to join a rotation that was then led by Jose Fernandez, Chen has made just 27 starts — and only five all of last season — as he dealt with recurring elbow issues that show no signs of letting up.
Chen, 32, spent four months on the disabled list last season due to what the Marlins termed as “left arm fatigue” before returning in early September. But after making four appearances out of the bullpen, he was shut down again and received a platelet rich plasma (PRP) injection rather than undergo Tommy John surgery for the second time in his career.
Chen isn’t the only contract bogging down the Marlins’ payroll. Starting pitcher Edinson Volquez, who is due to make $13 million next season, underwent Tommy John surgery in August and might not pitch at all in 2018.