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Marlins agree to terms with Wei-Yin Chen

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Marlins have agreed to terms with Wei-Yin Chen on a five-year deal worth about $80 million. Basically, that's Mike Leake or Jeff Samardzija money, although Chen will also receive an opt-out after two years.

The signing further depletes the starting pitching free agent market, with Ian Kennedy and Yovani Gallardo remaining as the only two real blue-chip players left (and "blue chip" is probably a bit generous to those two). We'll see if the Pirates have another starting pitching acquisition up their sleeves. Maybe they do, and whatever their plans were or are, they probably didn't involve Wei-Yin Chen anyway. But the thinning market does seem to make it more and more likely that the Bucs will go with what they have.

If that's the case, then I like Pat's guess as to what the Pirates might be thinking -- that their bullpen propped up pitchers like Charlie Morton and Jeff Locke last year and could potentially prop up a weak back end of the rotation again. At least on the surface, the Bucs haven't done enough to improve their rotation, but they have added a variety of bullpen arms who are potentially interesting, and if they can make one or two of them into a really good reliever, they might be able to succeed despite a rotation that doesn't appear to be dominant.