Orioles sign Taiwanese left-hander Wei-Yin Chen to three-year deal

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Taiwanese left-hander Wei-Yin Chen and the Orioles have agreed to a three-year contract with a team option for 2015.

No official word yet on the money involved, but Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports that the deal is expected to be worth $11-12 million.

Chen threw 165 innings with a 2.68 ERA and 94/31 K/BB ratio for the Chunichi Dragons in Japan last season and will move right into the Orioles’ rotation at age 26.

Earlier this offseason he was said to be seeking around $20 million, but averaging just 5.1 strikeouts per nine innings in Japan perhaps scared off some potential suitors. However, according to Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette the left-hander “has exceptional command” and “works off of a 92-94 mph fastball” with “a hard, slurve-like breaking ball as an out pitch.”

Guys like Chris Capuano, Bruce Chen, and Aaron Harang each signed two-year deals worth $4-5 million per season, so while Chen’s contract is a year longer he’s basically being paid like a mid-rotation starter. Baltimore also signed Japanese left-hander Tsuyoshi Wada to a two-year, $8 million deal, but he’s 30 years old and his upside is viewed as lesser than Chen’s.