Chen, 37, made two starts with the Indians this season, going 0-1 with a 12.79 ERA. He pitched a total of 6 1/3 innings and gave up nine runs on 17 hits. He lasted 2 1/3 innings against the Rangers on Friday, allowing three runs on seven hits.
Chen went 82-81 with a 4.62 ERA over parts of 17 seasons in the bigs.
"You can't help but respect and admire the way he handles himself and the teammate he is," manager Terry Francona said Saturday when the team decided to DFA Chen. "But even by his own admission, he's not effective right now against Major League hitters. ... You know when you're talking to a guy at this point in his career, there's a potential that he may decide to [retire]."
John Jackson is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.