Indians giving veteran lefty Chen a shot to crack rotation

Indians giving veteran lefty Chen a shot to crack rotation

CLEVELAND -- Veteran left-hander Bruce Chen was a thorn in Cleveland's side at various points throughout his time with the Royals. The Indians had seen the pitcher more than enough to feel he was worth bringing into the Spring Training fold.

On Wednesday, the Indians finalized the signing of Chen to a Minor League contract that includes an invitation to attend big league Spring Training, a deal that initially was reported on Monday. CBS Sports said that Chen would have a $1 million base salary with another $1 million possible through incentives, if he is in the Majors with the Tribe.

The deal, gives the team 22 non-roster invitees in camp this spring. Chen, 37, offers the Tribe an experienced arm for added depth, but he will likely have a steep climb to the Opening Day roster.

The Indians' rotation is virtually set with Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, Trevor Bauer and Gavin Floyd in the top four spots, and Danny Salazar, T.J. House, Zach McAllister and Josh Tomlin battling for the fifth job. In the bullpen, Cleveland projects to have right-handers Cody Allen, Scott Atchison and Bryan Shaw, along with lefties Marc Rzepczynski, Nick Hagadone and Kyle Crockett. There is also long list of arms in the running for the final one or two spots in the 'pen.

Chen has gone 82-80 with a 4.58 ERA in 398 games (225 starts) in parts of 16 seasons spent with 10 ballclubs. Most recently, the lefty pitched for Kansas City in the '09-14 campaigns, posting a 47-43 record and 4.53 ERA in 156 games (113) starts with the Royals. In 2014, Chen had a 7.45 ERA in 48 1/3 innings (13 appearances) and was released in early September.

During his time with the Royals, though, Chen was a nuisance for the Indians at times. From 2009-14, the lefty was tied for the fourth-highest win total against Cleveland, going 7-3 with a 4.32 ERA against the Tribe in that span. During the 2013 season, when the Indians reached the American League Wild Card Game, Chen posted a 1.04 ERA in five games against them.

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.