The Orioles have added some depth to their rotation by bringing back left-handed pitcher Bruce Chen! Wait, no... that's left-handed pitcher Wei-Yin Chen, coming over from Japan (though he is Taiwanese - woops) as Dan Duquette continues investing in the international market.
Chen's only 26 years old will get three years and $12 M, which seems like a fine deal. His career numbers in the NPB include a 7.1 K/9 (though it was down to 5.1 last year, which is mildly concerning), a 2.2 BB/9, and an 0.7 HR/9. Chen is supposed to be a harder thrower than Tsuyoshi Wada, coming in in the low 90s with his fastball (complemented with a slider - potentially plus, according to Keith Law). Using the same kinds of translations as with Wada:
Here are Chen's last three years:
Adjusting the last year for the new NPB ball:
Translating to MLB:
Using a 3-2-1 weighting for more recent years:
And then regressing 50% to the mean for the rates:
A 4.50 FIP in even 120 IP for the first year, with some decline in years two and three, still would leave the contract "fair" the O's. $4 M isn't a crazy amount to play for a quality reliever (thought three years might be excessive), which seems like a reasonable expectation - and given that Chen is left-handed, I imagine that unless he crashes and burns some team would be interested in maybe trading for him.
It's a nice low-risk, medium reward move, and a much preferred alternative to giving multiple years to, say, Joe Saunders (who is probably a surer bet for a 4.50 FIP but doesn't have the potential up-side). The O's starting rotation now has some serious depth of average ot below arms; Guthrie, Britton, Arrieta, Chen, Wada, Tillman, Matusz, Simon, Eveland, Bergesen. The O's should have their starters go 3-4 innings and then bringing in another "starter" for 3-4 more each game! Thinking outside the box! Add in Berken and Jim Johnson to close things out - hey, it could work (I'd pay $5 to see them try this for two weeks, maybe after they're clearing out of contention just to keep people from freaking out as much).
I'm excited about Chen. I think your adjusted stats are fair, but I'm hoping for even better. Jeremy Guthrie was tweeting about how he needs the Japanese Rosetta Stone. Looks like he really needs it now... or does Chen only speak Chinese? It's gonna get crazy in that clubhouse....
Also, in regards to your "The O's should have their starters go 3-4 innings" comment, have you seen this?
Someone on Camden Chat posted this recently, and I think it's kinda awesome. Who knows? Maybe it was you. Same kinda idea, but much more in depth. Good reading. Although you should proofread before posting. Hee hee.
@BirdsOPray Upon further reading of your site, I couldn't help but notice that Wada's projected numbers are almost the same, despite the fact that his numbers, fastball and age are all less desirable than Chen's... do you agree that this seems a little off? I would think Chen will fare better than Wada, and yet your projected k's, innings and FIP are all very similar between the two, despite their inherent differences...