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Yankees 2016 Potential Free Agent Target: Wei-Yin Chen

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2015 Statistics: 3.34 ERA, 4.16 FIP, 7.20 K/9, 1.93 BB/9, 2.8 WAR, 191.1 IP

2016 Age: 30

Position: Left-handed starting pitcher

Wei-Yin Chen is probably not a first choice because most teams want a David Price or a Johnny Cueto or a Zack Greinke. As good as Chen has been, he's more of a second tier free agent that teams go to as an alternative than someone you break the bank for. He'll be effective, but he'll also be a lot cheaper when it comes to years and dollars, and that could make him pretty desirable to a lot of teams. He's someone the Yankees should at least consider because it's probably a long shot for them to sign a $200 million pitcher until money comes off the books next year.

Chen has only been in America for the last four years, but over that time he's been a model of reliability and consistency. He's made at least 30 starts and pitched 180 innings over three of his four seasons and was worth at least 2.0 WAR each year. He also drastically improved over the last two years, pitching to a solid 3.44 ERA with a 4.03 FIP, and an impressive 1.80 BB/9. He's been healthy during his time in the States too, only hitting the DL in 2013 with an oblique injury, so there's probably not a lot of concern about his durability over his next contract.

Unfortunately, he's been routinely done in by the long ball, allowing an 11.2% HR/FB rate over his career, which he surpassed in 2015. Playing his home games in Camden didn't do him any favors, so Yankee Stadium might be even worse for him. He relies on the velocity of his fastball, and while his ability to command the strike zone is good to see, you have to wonder if he'll face issues once he loses a few miles per hour. It also takes him some time to amp things up, so the New York media would be pretty unbearable over his velocity in much of the first half.

Still, though, the Yankees could use another left-handed starting pitcher now that CC Sabathia has fallen from the top of the rotation. Chen is very effective against lefties, has the high velocity the organization likes to see, and has proven that he can survive in the AL East, even with home run problems. Word on the street is he's looking for a five-year deal, and while that seems like his absolute max, Scott Boras will be gunning for that as the starting point. If you consider next year's free agent class, Chen–and any free agent pitcher–becomes that much more valuable this offseason. MLB Trade Rumors is predicting a five-year deal at $80 million, so that would be $16 million a year, a price that is very doable when you consider how many pitchers on the open market will get an AAV above $25 million.

According to Fangraphs, he's been worth more than $16 million in each of the last two seasons, so he should provide solid value over the life of (most of) his contract. The deal breaker, though, is that he will cost a draft pick to sign and the Yankees don't need to be giving up one of those if they can just spend money on David Price. It's a pity, then, that they don't appear to be interested in signing anyone.