2014 MLB Free Agent Profile: Bruce Chen

Jamie Squire

The veteran lefty spent the past five seasons with the Royals and is on the market.

Veteran left-handed pitcher Bruce Chen has played for ten teams, one of which was the Mets, since he began his major league career in 1998. When he has played, Chen has primarily been a starting pitcher over his career, but 43 percent of his 385 appearances have come out of the bullpen.

Chen will turn 37 years old in June and has spent the last five years with the Royals. While he was exclusively a starter between 2010 and 2012, he split his time between the team's rotation and bullpen in 2013 as he put together a 3.27 ERA and 4.12 FIP. Although his FIP was exactly 4.12 in both roles, Chen had a 2.41 ERA out of the bullpen last year.

For his career, Chen has virtually no splits between the two roles, and although he's left-handed, he doesn't have much in the way of platoon splits, either. In total, he's had mediocre-to-decent strikeout and walk rates over his career but has struggled mightily with surrendering home runs. And he's a soft-tossing lefty with an average fastball in the mid-80s who sports a changeup, slider, and curve, per Brooks Baseball.

There has been very little buzz about Chen on the free agent market this winter, which is understandable, but as the Mets look for additional options in their bullpen—and potentially a little more rotation depth—Chen could make some sense for them on a small deal.

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