The Washington Nationals are reportedly among those who are interested in acquiring former Orioles pitcher Wei-Yin Chen. MLB.com first reported that Chen is on the team's radar and ESPN's Buster Olney followed it up by pointing out that the left-hander, like several Nats players, is a client of agent Scott Boras.
Washington lost pitchers Doug Fister and Jordan Zimmermann this fall, so it seems like a sensible move for the club to explore further options. MASN's Roch Kubatko mentioned a few days ago that Chen is asking for a five-year deal that lies on the $100 million range. That may sound hefty but pitchers like Jeff Samardzija already commanded $90 million, and according to NBC Sports, Chen had been a much better pitcher than him in 2015.
The 30-year-old Taiwanese left-hander, who previously played in Japan's professional league, has proven his skills by posting a strong 3.34 ERA, 1.218 WHIP, along with 153/41 K/BB ratio in a total of 191 1/3 innings this past season for the Baltimore Orioles.
In other trade updates, the Nationals are supposed to be moving on from the Cincinnati Reds' Brandon Phillips and are thinking about signing free agent Howie Kendrick.
Cincinnati was ready to send Phillips and his remaining $27 million contract to Washington but talks between the two sides have soured on Saturday, Fox Sports's Ken Rosenthal reported. The second baseman apparently disagreed to waive his 10-and-5 rights and is still waiting for the Reds to work out a better compensation.
Phillips previously signed a six-year contract worth $72.5 million with Cincinnati three years ago. The 34-year-old is scheduled to make $13 million in the next season and another $14 million in 2017.
Rosenthal claims that there might still be a chance for the talks to be revived, but the Nationals are reportedly not keen on waiting around and missing out on other top free-agents including Kendrick and infielder Daniel Murphy.
In Kendrick's case, he already has ten years of experience in the major league and only batted once below .285. The second baseman's seasonal batting average seldom fall more than 10 points below his career average of .293. BaseballEssential.com even pegged him as a safer bet for the Nationals than Phillips.
Over the last three seasons, 32-year-old Kendrick has batted .297, .293, and .295, with consistent on-base percentages. In 1,198 pro games, he has 1,341 hits and managed to deliver four double-digit home run seasons.