The exodus of Orioles free agents took two months to start, and now that it's finally come, two of their free agents are gone in the same day. Tuesday afternoon brought news of both Wei-Yin Chen agreeing on a five year contract with the Marlins as well as Gerardo Parra heading to the Rockies on a three year deal.
There are no surprises here. Chen has been figured to be a sure departure since at least the beginning of the free agency period. The five year, $80 million contract with a vesting sixth year player option is right in line with what was predicted for him on sites like MLB Trade Rumors. That's more than the O's were going to pay on a pitcher, no matter how they could use a lefty. ESPN's Buster Olney notes that there is also an opt out after the second year.
It's something of a moot question about whether Chen would have even wanted to come back after suffering indignities like this year's brief Frederick exile, which seemed to irritate him, or at least whoever surfaced to post the first ever English tweets to his Twitter account back at the time of that brouhaha. The Orioles could use a lefty, but it was never going to be Chen. More's the pity since he was their only above-average starting pitcher last year and now he's gone.
The Marlins have a top 10 draft pick, so their top pick is protected against loss from signing a qualifying offer-attached free agent like Chen. They will lose their next pick, a second rounder which was set to be #47 overall. The O's will have a pick created in the compensation round due to Chen's departure. That pick is presently set to be #28, though that could move a couple of spots depending on what happens with the remaining QO free agents. The Padres will jump ahead of the O's in that round when/if their guys sign elsewhere.
This closes the book on Chen's O's tenure. He was an unheralded solid part of the rotation for four years, making 31 or 32 starts in three of those four seasons. Though he was never a 200 inning pitcher, he did top 190 innings twice. It's safe to say he was a big part of why they were able to make the playoffs in the two seasons where they did so. Best of luck to him unless the Orioles play the Marlins in the World Series, which, LOL.
There's not much to say about Parra. He wasn't an Oriole for long and with the O's giving up a promising young pitcher to get him and Parra then performing dismally, not many fans will miss him. The fact that even a player like Parra, who over the whole of his career is a below league-average hitter, gets $27.5 million guaranteed goes a long way to explaining why the Orioles haven't done much on the free agent market, this year or any year. Better to roll the dice on Hyun Soo Kim for $7 million than sign a Parra contract.
Since both of these guys have been assumed to be long gone for months, the bottom line impact on the 2016 Orioles compared to what we already knew is zilch.