Mariners add more pitching depth with newest international signing Chia-Shi Chen

The newest member of the Seattle family is an unorthodox pitching talent from Taiwan, as they've signed 20-year-old Chia-Shi Chen
Fubon Guardians v TSG Hawks - CPBL
Fubon Guardians v TSG Hawks - CPBL / Gene Wang/GettyImages

Through their Player Development Twitter page, the Mariners announced that they had signed Chia-Shi Chen, a 20-year old right-handed pitching prospect. Picked in the second round of the Chinese Professional Baseball League 2023 Draft, he joined the TSG Hawks as a catcher.

Although it was a small sample size, Chen wasn't the most inspiring presence at the plate. He slashed an abysmal .059/.111/.059 with five strikeouts over 19 plate appearances. Had he remained a position player, he actually would've fit right in with the current Seattle lineup. The hardest ball he hit all season might have actually been a foul towards the VIP booth.

The front office must have noticed something about his throwing arm that is unbeknownst to those not tuning into CPBL games on the daily since his caught-stealing rate was just 20% on five attempts, but the Mariners tend to have a way of getting the best out of their available pitching talent.

It's a somewhat odd signing as there's little public information on him as a player and most if not all fans have been clamoring for more major-league offense, not prospect-level pitching, to be added to the roster. The sheer excellence of the team's current pitching staff is the only thing keeping the team afloat in the standings right now, but could this actually be a move in the right direction? Are the Mariners preparing to bolster their pitching prospect depth in order to trade away some of their big league pitching in exchange for more effective bats?

Teams usually convert struggling position players with talented arms into pitchers as a last-ditch attempt to get some value out of them, but for Seattle to go out of their way to sign an international name for which this is the case is peculiar to say the least. Only time will tell and with someone as relatively unknown as Chen, it's hard to say what he'll do for the team down the line.