Well this is not the kind of pitching upgrade we were all expecting. Ken Rosenthal is reporting the Royals have re-signed Bruce Chen. He did not mention for how long or for how much.
Source: #Royals re-sign Bruce Chen.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 30, 2014
Chris Cotillo has a confirmation of the signing with a few more details.
— Chris Cotillo (@ChrisCotillo) January 30, 2014
Chen was 9-4 with a 3.27 ERA as a swing man for the Royals in 2013. It would be assumed Chen would return to the swing man role for the Royals should the report be true. There’s a chance he would be the fifth starter for the Royals until Yordano Ventura is deemed ready, and then shift to the bullpen. He could also fill the role left by either Luke Hochevar or Wade Davis if they earn the fifth starter spot.
Adding Chen does seem odd considering the other option that are still remaining, including Ervin Santana, Bronson Arroyo, and A.J. Burnett. It is hard to know if Chen re-signing means the Royals are officially out on any of those pitchers, especially without knowing how much money Chen is returning for. At the very least Chen fills the role left open by Everett Teaford, who was designated for assignment yesterday.
If you really want to get into speculation mode, Chen could be an opening for the Royals to trade one of Hochevar or Davis to open up payroll space. The $5 million saved on Hochevar or Davis could either go towards signing on of the starting pitchers named earlier or get the Royals down towards the magical $85 million budget target they set for themselves at the beginning of the offseason.
Here’s the financial details of Chen’s contract.
chen gets $3.25M salary plus $1M buyout ($4.25M total) on $5.5M mutual option for ’15. plus $1.25M in performance bonuses
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) January 30, 2014