The Cleveland Indians have reached an agreement with left-handed pitcher Bruce Chen on a minor-league deal, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. His minor-league deal includes an invitation to spring training and he can earn a base salary of $1 million if he is able to make the big league squad and an additional $1 million in performance bonuses if certain goals are met, Heyman notes.
Bruce Chen agrees to minors deal with Indians. $1M base, plus $1M performance bonuses
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) February 17, 2015
The 37-year-old left-hander put up solid numbers back during the 2013 season, accumulating a 3.27 ERA in 121 innings of work between the starting rotation and bullpen. This performance earned him a one-year, $3.25 million contract from the Kansas City Royals to re-sign with the ball club. However, in 48 and 1/3 innings pitched for the Royals during the 2014 campaign, Chen pitched to a 2-4 record, along with a 7.45 ERA, 54 ERA+ and a 4.58 FIP over 13 games pitched (seven starts).
If Chen makes the big league team out of spring training, the Indians will mark the eleventh major-league team that he has pitched for over his sixteen-year career. The Indians would be joining the Atlanta Braves (1998-2000), Philadelphia Phillies (2000-01), New York Mets (2001-02), Montreal Expos (2002), Cincinnati Reds (2002-03), Houston Astros (2003), Boston Red Sox (2003), Baltimore Orioles (2004-06), Texas Rangers (2007) and the Kansas City Royals (2009-14) as the team’s Chen has pitched for. In 398 games pitched (225 starts) in his career, Chen has put together a 82-80 record, along with a 4.58 ERA, 94 ERA+ and a 4.91 FIP in 1525 and 2/3 innings pitched.
Just like every other minor-league signing of a veteran, the signing is a low-risk, high-reward kind of deal. Chen could end up as a valuable middle reliever for the Indians if he is able to make the big league team out of camp this spring.