Chen has posted a 4.50 ERA, 0.92 WHIP and 11:2 K:BB through 12 innings of relief in June, recording two holds in nine appearances. It may not seem like much, but those numbers are a huge improvement for the veteran lefty on his first two months of the season as he transitions to a bullpen role. Chen is the highest-paid Marlin left on the roster -- he's earning $20 million this year and has another two seasons and $38 million left on his deal afterwards -- so if he can continue to find some success as a middle reliever or setup man, the team might just be able to find a taker for him by the trade deadline.
Chen gave up a hit and a walk over two scoreless innings of relief while striking out one in Thursday's loss to the Cubs. While the southpaw's 9.69 ERA and 2.08 WHIP aren't going to attract much trade interest, Chen is showing signs of growing comfortable in a relief role, tossing six scoreless innings over his last four appearances with a 5:1 K:BB. The Marlins would love to shed his contract, but he'll need a longer run of success in long relief before that's got a chance of happening.
Chen was charged with 10 runs on seven hits -- including four home runs -- and two walks over two innings in Tuesday's loss to the Reds. He struck out three. The veteran portsider threw 66 pitches (42 strikes) and while there's no silver lining here for his individual performance, Chen at least saved the Marlins' bullpen from being depleted in a 14-0 rout. He now has a nearly incomprehensible 24.75 ERA and has walked five batters in four innings as he attempts to transition to a relief role.
Chen didn't record an out, giving up a hit and a walk, to begin the ninth inning of Sunday's win over the Rockies. It's interesting that Don Mattingly brought Chen in rather than Adam Conley to face two left-handed batters (Charlie Blackmon and David Dahl) in a save situation, but the veteran hurler did little to encourage the Marlins manager to repeat the experiment. Chen could need some time to adjust to relief work -- only four of his previous 174 MLB appearances came out of the bullpen -- but given his hefty contract, the club has plenty of incentive to find a role for him that might give him some trade value.
Manager Don Mattlingly announced Sunday that Chen will pitch out of the bullpen to start the season, Andre Fernandez of The Athletic reports. The news isn't overly surprising as there's been indications throughout spring that Chen could be slated for some type of bullpen role. The team has yet to announce its official plans for the starting rotation, so the rest of that picture remains a bit murky.