Chen, 26, was 8-10 with a 2.68 ERA in 25 games (24 starts) this year for the Chunichi Dragons of the Nippon Professional Baseball League.
The Orioles have scouted Chen multiple times. Unlike Yu Darvish, he doesn’t require a posting fee.
Duqette already has signed Japanese left-hander Tsuyoshi Wada to a two-year, $8.15 million deal with a 2014 option worth $5 million. He would like to dig a little deeper into the international market and bring Chen to Baltimore.
Chen is a lanky 6-foot southpaw with a low-90s fastball that reportedly tops out at 96 mph. He also throws a slider and changeup, and is working on a forkball. He logged 164 2/3 innings this year despite receiving treatment for a leg injury.
Chen pitched for the Chinese Taipei national team in the 2004 and 2008 Olympics. He’s 36-30 with a 2.59 ERA, 547 hits allowed, 159 walks and 520 strikeouts in five seasons and 650 2/3 innings. He won the ERA title (1.54) with the Dragons in 2009.
The Orioles also are interested in free-agent left-hander Joe Saunders, a native of Falls Church, Va. who was non-tendered by the Arizona Diamondbacks. They’ve had conversations with his agent, according to a source.
Saunders was 12-13 with a 3.69 ERA in 33 starts with the Diamondbacks last season, and is 69-52 with a 4.16 ERA in seven major league seasons.
Is it just a coincidence that the Orioles are so focused on left-handers?