Chen, 26, will be the first Taiwanese-born player in Orioles history. The 6-foot, 195-pound left-hander went 36-30 with a 2.48 ERA (631.1IP, 174ER) and 1.06 WHIP in 117 games (88 starts) over the last four seasons with the Chunichi Dragons in the Central League of Nippon Professional Baseball.
“Chen works off of a 92-94 mile per hour fastball and he uses a hard, slurve-like breaking ball as an out-pitch,” said Orioles Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations DAN DUQUETTE. ”He has exceptional command and we like the quality of his pitches to help our team.”
“I am extremely excited about this opportunity to challenge the Major Leagues and begin the next chapter of my professional baseball career,” said Chen. “I am thankful for the support of my family, my fans, the Chunichi Dragons and Baltimore Orioles organizations which allowed me to continue to pursue my dream. I will do my best to help the Orioles to the championship.”
He set career-highs with 13 wins, 27 starts, 188.0 innings pitched and 153 strikeouts in 2010. He led the league with a 1.54 ERA, 0.93 WHIP and four shutouts in 164.0 innings in 2009.
Chen was a member of the Chinese Taipei national baseball team in both the 2004 Athens and 2008 Beijing Olympics. He went 1-0 in two starts in the 2008 Games, tossing 7.0 shutout innings in a 5-0 win over the Netherlands on August 13.
Chen is married to Yi-Wen Tsai (eeee-wen sigh).
A press conference will be held in Taipei, Taiwan on January, 16 at 11:00a.m. (Taiwan time) at the Sherwood Taipei Hotel (http://www.sherwood.com.tw/). Ray Poitevint, the Orioles Executive Director, International Baseball, will represent the club.
To clear room for Chen on the 40-man roster, OF Kyle Hudson has been designated for assignment. Hudson, 25, batted .143 (4-28) in 14 games with the Orioles in 2011 after hitting a combined .296/.375/.336 in 119 games across three minor league levels earlier in the year.