KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Left-hander Bruce Chen got his wish Thursday, agreeing to a $4.25 million, one-year contract to return to the Kansas City Royals, where he's spent the past five seasons.
Chen became a free agent after last season, but he made it clear that he wanted to return to the Royals. He'll do so on a deal that pays $3.25 million this season with a mutual option at $5.5 million for 2015 with a $1 million buyout. The deal is subject to a physical, likely to take place Friday.
He'll also be eligible for performance bonuses this season of $125,000 for each start from 16 through 25, a sign the Royals may view him primarily as a long-reliever with the ability to step in as a spot starter in the case of injuries or ineffectiveness.
That's similar to the role Chen had last season, arguably the best of his 15-year career. He went 9-4 with a 3.27 ERA while making 15 starts and 19 appearances out of the bullpen.
One of the most popular players in the clubhouse, the 36-year-old Chen has seemingly gotten better with age. He won 35 games for the Royals from 2010-12, when he was almost exclusively a starter, and then helped stabilize the rotation the last 2½ months of last season.