Where does Sandy Alcantara fit into Marlins top 5 pitching deals?

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Wei-Yin Chen: 5 years, $80 million

If you’re still reading this, you’re enough of a Miami Marlins fan that you don’t need to be told this sad, unfortunate truth about Wei-Yin Chen: This was the worst contract in the history of the franchise.

Eight-year MLB career, just over eight points of WAR. And he left Miami, and MLB, with less than he came into town with in the first place. Seems like as good a place to start as any in panning this disaster of a transaction.

Chen was brought in to stabilize the starting rotation, to serve as a reliable No. 2 behind Jose Fernandez. A task that Chen had done very little to prove he was capable of, especially when compared to the rest of the free agent options in his class. Chen was paid a borderline ace level contract, and finished 2016 as arguably the Miami Marlins fourth-most effective starting pitcher.

He never finished any better than that, battling injuries his whole Marlins career.

If Chen had either just underperformed, or just had injury issues, he might have been remembered differently. Unfortunately, the marriage of the two elevates his Marlins tenure to spectacular failure. Unlike in the case of the Alex Fernandez contract, Chen was not part of some greater team success that justified the cost. And unlike in the case of Heath Bell, Miami was stuck paying him every last penny of the deal.

That had real consequences every year he was in south Florida, and even after he was released. It doesn’t take too much imagination to see a path where Miami had winning seasons in 2016 and 2017 without him. As for the next three years, could that Chen money have kept one of the Marlins young stars as the face of the rebuild? Or perhaps bolstered the 2020 roster that made the playoffs? The answer to at least one of those questions is probably yes, and even one yes is enough.

Verdict: The Miami Marlins are only just now free of the biggest mistake in team history. And yes, I’m aware of the Miguel Cabrera and Christian Yelich trades.

Which brings us to the latest big money signing…