Baltimore Orioles lose Wei-Yin Chen
The Baltimore Orioles lost free agent Wei-Yin Chen, who heads to Miami.
You knew at a certain point that one of the Baltimore Orioles’ free agents would fly the coup. Yesterday the news broke that Wei-Yin Chen had signed with Miami – making him the first free agent to leave the Birds. Chen signed a five-year deal for a reported $80 million, with a vesting option for a sixth year.
The O’s weren’t comfortable bringing Chen back for that amount of time, although initially Scott Boras was looking for a $100 million contract. While I do think that the Orioles might have considered the five year deal for $80 million, there’s another part of the deal with which I wouldn’t be comfortable if I were a team: an opt-out clause. Chen can opt out of the deal after two years if he so chooses.
That’s something that we’re seeing more and more in baseball, and I don’t really think it’s a good thing. There have been several free agent contracts this off season which have included opt out clauses already, and I would submit that it’s nothing more than teams leaving themselves open to be screwed over. Somehow I see it as akin to asking someone to marry you with the caveat that if the girl wants out after three years she can exercise that option no questions asked.
Call to the Pen
So in my personal view if you’re an Orioles fan you should be glad that the Birds didn’t match that type of contract. It’s nowhere near as team friendly as I personally think a contract should be. Obviously there are some concessions that teams have to make in these negotiations, however if I were a GM that wouldn’t be one of them. There’s just no point in signing a player to a long-term deal if he’s going to have the option of leaving midway through.
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After the announcement on Chen, Gerardo Parra quickly became the second free agent to leave the O’s. He signed with Colorado for three years, and a reported $27.5 million. Mind you that Parra came to the Birds in a trade deadline deal, so they only had half a season invested in him. I would tend to think that the O’s could have matched that deal, however they’re top-heavy in the outfield already and they appeared to not have too much interest in retaining Parra.
It goes without saying that now the Orioles will formally have a large hole in their rotation, as Chen was a huge presence. Again, in my view while Miami’s getting a good pitcher, I’m just not a fan of these opt-out clauses. In my view they run contrary to the spirit of having a contract in the first place.
Next: Baltimore Orioles: Keep your cool
And I suspect that the Orioles feel the same way. Owner Peter Angelos is very big on people honoring their word and honoring what’s in writing. Allowing a player to slither out of his word isn’t exactly his typical modus operandi. Again however, now the O’s need to focus on replacing Chen.