Lefty Bruce Chen will fill the No.5 rotation spot for the Tribe against the Twins on Saturday, taking the place of TJ House, who is on the 15-day DL with left shoulder inflammation.
The 37yo Chen has pitched very well in five starts in AAA this season (1.74 ERA, 0.71 WHIP). However, there is obviously a world of difference between a savvy veteran being able to dominate young and/or fringe players, and being able to get MLB players out. The last time he played MLB he was something of a train wreck: at the Royals last season, hampered by a lower back injury, he pitched to a 7.45 ERA wth a 1.76 WHIP and 4.58 FIP in 13 games (7 starts).
The Royals ultimately released Chen on August 28 and he was out of baseball until the Tribe picked him up on a MiLB deal in the middle of February. At that time it was announced that Chen would make $1MM if he were to make the 25-man roster, with up to a further $1MM on offer if he pitches enough innings.
Prior to last season, Chen had spent five reasonably successful seasons with the Royals, averaging 1.1 fWAR per year. He has never had "great stuff" (6.70 career K/9), but the question is really whether he has enough "decent stuff" left in the locker to re-establish himself as a MLB pitcher.
Many of us at LGT believed that Shaun Marcum was the more likely candidate to take TJ House's spot. Marcum hasn't pitched for Columbus for over a week (his last start was April 28) and it's not clear exactly why. Perhaps he is ill or injured!?
I'll be rooting hard for Chen to succeed on Saturday, but that certainly won't be without a certain amount of trepidation. It's certainly possible that the Tribe might hold back McAllister as a potential long reliever for that game, just in case things go badly awry early on.
The Tribe has not yet announced who will be dropped from the 25-man and 40-man rosters to make room for Chen.