It appears to be the end of an era in Kansas City.
The Kansas City Royals have designated 37-year-old southpaw Bruce Chen for assignment, according to MLB Daily Dish's Chris Cotillo. Chen's exiling comes in the wake of last night's one-inning, six run implosion that cost the Royals a key game to the Twins in the 10th inning.
Chen has been at the forefront of the Dayton Moore era in Kansas City, not coincidentally losing playing time as the Royals have risen to contention. Since the start of the 2009 season, Chen has pitched in 156 games for the Royals, posting a very average 4.53 ERA and 4.58 FIP. He was pretty good in 121 innings as a swingman last season, notching a 3.27 ERA and 1.4 WAR, which earned him a one-year, $3 million deal over the offseason. Chen also carries a $5.5 million player option for next season that the Royals can buy out for $1.25 million. It seems to be a foregone conclusion that he will be receiving the latter amount, as Chen has played poorly this season, posting a 7.45 ERA in 48.1 innings. However, his peripherals seem to indicate that he hasn't pitched that out of character, with a 4.58 FIP, 4.64 xFIP, and 2.25 K/BB all better than his career averages.
The Royals currently hold a 1.5 game lead over the Detroit Tigers in the AL Central, as they attempt to break a nearly three decade long playoff-less streak. With a solid rotation of James Shields, Jason Vargas, Danny Duffy, Jeremy Guthrie, and Yordano Ventura, as well as a very good bullpen, the Royals have had little reason to use Chen this season, and that has been particularly reflected over the past couple months, as he has been used just six times since the All-Star break.
Taking Chen's place on the active roster will be right-hander Louis Coleman. The 28-year-old Coleman has made 20 appearances for the Royals this season, putting up a terrible 7.48 ERA and 6.68 FIP. He has been significantly better at Triple-A Omaha, where he has a 3.86 ERA, 12.0 K/9, and 3.4 BB/9 in 39.2 innings pitched. Coleman was an instrumental part of the Royals' bullpen last season, posting a 0.61 ERA and 2.04 FIP in just under 30 innings.
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