Royals re-sign Bruce Chen, who could be in the rotation mix

Bruce Chen went 9-4 for the Royals last season with a 3.27 ERA.

Rick Osentoski/Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Royals likely added to their crowded competition for the bottom end of the rotation by re-signing left-hander Bruce Chen to a one-year deal Thursday.

The deal was first reported by Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com.

The deal will pay Chen $3.25 million in 2014 with a mutual option of $5.5 million in 2015. The deal will allow for Chen to receive a $1 million buyout in 2015, thus guaranteeing him $4.25 million overall.

The Royals’ payroll had been hovering near $90 million prior to the Chen signing. That signing and pending deals for arbitration-eligible pitchers Greg Holland and Aaron Crow will push the payroll near $100 million.

Chen, 36, went 9-4 for the Royals last season with a 3.27 ERA. He started the season as the team’s long reliever but then switched to the rotation, making 15 starts.

Chen could start the season in the bullpen or he could compete with Danny Duffy, Yordano Ventura, Luke Hochevar, Wade Davis and Brad Penny, among others, for the final two spots in the rotation behind James Shields, Jason Vargas and Jeremy Guthrie.

Chen’s move, not yet confirmed by the Royals, likely will require a corresponding roster move since the Royals’ 40-man roster is full.

You can follow Jeffrey Flanagan on Twitter @jflanagankc or email at jeffreyflanagan6@gmail.com.