Houston Astros: Who’s a Better Option, Scott Kazmir or Wei-Yin Chen?

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Wei-Yin Chen

Sep 19, 2015; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Wei-Yin Chen (16) throws a pitch during the seventh inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Case to Sign Wei-Yin Chen over Scott Kazmir

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Nearly two years younger than Kazmir, Chen presents the Astros a younger and potentially cheaper option than Kazmir.  At 30 years old, the lefty has a career  3.72 ERA along with a 46-32 record.  In 2014, Chen went 16-6, had a 3.54 ERA, and posted a 1.23 WHIP.  In 2015, Chen improved his ERA to 3.34, went 11-8, and posted a 1.22 WHIP.  In 31 starts this season, Chen only gave up more than three runs in four starts.  Kazmir gave up more than three runs in four starts . . . after being traded to the Astros.  Chen is consistent.  With Astros run support, Chen could easily be a 15 game winner.  Chen would likely be around $10 million per season.

The Case to Not to Sign Wei-Yin Chen

As previously stated, the Astros likely have five of their starts returning next season.  If they feel comfortable with those five (Keuchel, McHugh, McCullers, Fiers, and Feldman) along with their plurality of prospects, then there is no need to sign anyone.  Despite being a cheaper option than Kazmir, Chen could seek a four year deal if not more.  This could potentially block some of their prospects an opportunity to see time in the majors.

Next: Potential Bullpen Trade Targets

Ultimate Recommendation

Baring trading Scott Feldman, I’d say sign neither.  I think the original five listed and prospects who could get some starts this upcoming season can get it done for the Astros.  After all, they pretty much did this past season with Kamir only going 2-6.  IF the rotation does begin to slump next season, the Astros still have the trade assets to go acquire another starting pitcher.  Plus, I would much rather the Astros spend their money on bullpen help.