Yoshihisa Hirano and Wei-Yin Chen join Mariners

Yoshihisa Hirano
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The Mariners bolstered their bullpen on Thursday, signing pitchers Yoshihisa Hirano and Wei-Yin Chen to contracts. Hirano’s deal, announced by the Mariners, is for one year and $1.6 million, per The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal. The Chen deal, reported by Jon Heyman, figures to be of the minor league variety.

Hirano, 35, earned a few downballot NL Rookie of the Year votes in 2018, but had a rough 2019. He finished with a 4.75 ERA, though his 61 strikeouts and 22 walks over 53 innings suggests he pitched a bit better than that. The more spacious confines of T-Mobile Park should help him.

Chen, 34, was released by the Marlins in late November. He has spent much of the past four years injured and ineffective. Once a starter, Chen worked out of the Marlins’ bullpen last year but struggled mightily to a 6.59 ERA. He did strikeout 63 and walk 18 in 68 1/3 innings but he was also very homer-prone.

Hirano will vie for the closer’s role in Seattle while Chen, historically more effective against left-handed hitters, will hope to be one of the lefties coming out of the Mariners’ bullpen in 2020.