For now, the Miami Marlins have no intention of sitting out the 2016 season like their NL East counterparts in Philadelphia and Atlanta.
Today, according to multiple reports, the Marlins have agreed to sign free agent lefty Wei-Yin Chen to a five-year, $80 million deal, with a vesting option that could take it up to six years and $96 million. The deal is massively backloaded, because Marlins, and comes with a player opt-out after two years.
In the end, Chen gets just about what he was expected to get in this market, even if he had to wait a little while, and even if – and I’m completely speculating here – he didn’t wind up with his preferred destination.
The Marlins will give up a draft pick to sign Chen, though their first rounder is protected, so it’ll come in the second round.
With a still-very-good young core, and a returning Giancarlo Stanton, it’s not crazy to suggest that the Marlins could surprise in the East. I think it would take a fair bit of good fortune, and I suspect they won’t ultimately figure in the race, but it’s good to see them trying – even if for no other reason than it could make it tougher for the Nats and Mets to steamroll their unbalanced schedule on the way to an easy two playoff spots, leaving just one Wild Card spot for the non-division winners in the potentially very top-heavy Central and West.