Wang to check in with Dr. Andrews

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The Yankees don’t have many immediate roster decisions to make as they head into the off-season. They have just one team option to consider, Sergio Mitre‘s for $1.25 million, and they will likely exercise it. Only a few players are arbitration eligible, and of them most are either easy or painless calls. The case of Chien-Ming Wang, though, is a tough one. After surgery in July to repair a shoulder capsule, Wang could start the 2010 season in July, if he starts it at all. Will the Yankees tender him a contract under those circumstances?

The Yankees will have more information at hand after Monday, when Wang visits Dr. James Andrews to check up on his right shoulder. If everything looks fine, Wang could be throwing minor league games by April or May. What I wonder is whether that timeframe is worth a potential $5.5, $6 million gamble. That’s what the Yankees would be doing by offering him arbitration. The alternative is to not tender him a contract, meaning he’d be a free agent. There are no guarantees then.

I’ve heard some people say that the Yankees have mistreated Chien-Ming, but I don’t really see it. Maybe it’s because the observation is from afar, but it seems like they did the reasonable thing. Wang had an injury history, missing all of 2001 and part of 2005 with shoulder issues. Instead of signing him to a long-term deal, they went year to year. Unfortunately for Wang, that decision worked out for the Yankees. Now they get to make a decision on how he fits into their future.

There’s no downplaying Wang’s contributions to the Yankees from 2005 through the start of 2008. He stood out during the years when the team’s pitching was thin. It would be rough to see him go, especially because we know what he can contribute. In an off-season that many think will be light for the Yankees, the decision on Wang could stand out.

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  • JSquared

    I’d like to see Wang back. He’ll be 30 going into the season, and when healthy he puts up a lot of innings. He keeps the Yankees in the game almost every start (prior to this past season). Fans still like Wang but 5+ million for a July “Maybe”, is a lot.

  • Salty Buggah

    I dont think we should gamble by offering arbitration. I really hope he can sign with us afterward though. I want him back, without the gamble though. I’m hoping for a Minor League deal but that’s not gonna happen so hopefully he can sign with us for like $1.5-2 mil with incentives for innings pitched and roster bonuses.

    It’s probably not that likely I guess (and he probably could dominate even more in the NL when completely healthy so some NL team could take a decent shot at him) but I really want to have him back. I still have dreams of a CC, AJ, Vintage Wang, Good Joba, and Andy rotation with Hughes, Kennedy, and several others as insurance starters.

    • Camilo Gerardo – your inception? fuck perception, go with what makes sense

      Texas Hughes! sans the injury in the rotation

  • Tank Foster

    All depends on who else is available, etc…..

    While the team is aging and they had really good luck with injuries this year and ended up with a tremendous offense, I still think my offseason priority would be pitching. If I signed someone like Lackey, I’d probably non-tender Wang. If I got a lesser pitcher like Duscherrerrerreerreerrrrrr, maybe I’d gamble with arbitration on Wang.

    • Salty Buggah

      I would disagree with the injuries. We had our fair share of injuries. It’s just that the team had a lot of depth (thanks Cashmoney) and was able to survive those injuries.

      • baba o’riley

        we didn’t really have any major injuries to our “core four” which is pretty historically rare given their ages. i think that’s the major point here. what’s the chance that our big production, old age guys all stay healthy another year? (add arod and damon to this list now)

        • Salty Buggah

          Yea I know buts it’s not about only them. Every other injury was pretty important too. Yea we lucked out on the core four except Posada was hurt for a while but we still had other decently significant injuries too. I’m worried about Posada and slightly, like barely, for Mo next year but hopefully guys like Alex and Tex and others stay healthy too.

    • Tom Zig

      No thanks to Lackey, at least not at the price he will demand. I’d rather gamble on Wang, Duchscherer, or Sheets.

      • The Scout

        “Gamble” is the operative word here. If you prefer the safe bet, the reliable choice, Lackey is the far better alternative, and naturally his price will reflect that. Yes, the Yankees could go the low-cost route, as the Red Sox did last year with the likes of Penny and Smoltz. And that worked out so well for them…er, not so much.

  • Rockdog

    CMW is exactly the kind of player that the Yankees should sign (hopefully not via arbitration) — a high risk/high return player that we can probably pay below market due to the injury issue. However, as we know him better than anyone else, I will trust the teams’ judgement on him. I have to say that I really liked him as a Yankee and think he would be great for pitching depth, if it works out.

    • Geg

      How did that strategy work for the sox?

      • DreDog

        I was actually worried that this would be the exact signing the Sox would make. I would hate to see Wang to to the Sox, but I know you don’t make decisions based on that.

    • steve (different one)

      the problem is that strategy requires the risk of him signing elsewhere, which i don’t find all that unlikely.

      if he is non-tendered, all bets are off.

  • aCb

    didnt john smoltz get 5 million? i dont really think you could go wrong signing wang.

  • whozat

    I don’t think the Yanks mistreated Wang wrt his contracts. I _do_ think they mismanaged his rehab, and that he therefore has no reason to do the Yanks any favors in terms of taking a minor league deal or anything.

    They’ll have to give him the amount he could get on the market, which is probably around what aCb cited. So…I figure they’ll either give him that kind of deal, or know that they’re choosing to cut ties with him.

    If I’m Cashman, I’m looking to sign one insurance starter, as Joba and Hughes should fill out the last two slots in the rotation, with Gaudin, Kennedy, Mitre and McAllister as depth in AAA or the pen. I’d want one veteran option, and Duch or Wang probably fits that bill.

    • Count Zero

      …Joba and Hughes should fill out the last two slots in the rotation…

      Assuming Pettitte doesn’t decide to retire…which I’m not sure about.

      I don’t know that I would give Wang arb — this is his second time with the shoulder problem. But as noted, it costs $5MM to get any starter at all these days…and if Andy decides not to come back…I’m real glad I don’t have to make the decision.

      I think I would rather gamble on Sheets or Duscherer.

  • BklynJT

    We spend 20+ mil on arod, tex, CC, and jeter so i guess we gotta go cheap on everyone else =)

    • whozat

      So…the Yankees should pay players more than market value…because they make a lot of money? How does that make sense?

      CC, Tex, and Jeter have all proven to be worth what the Yanks paid them so far, at least. ARod…I know that he certainly provided value above and beyond while he was on his first contract. I’m not sure about 2008 and 2009.

      Still…why, exactly, should the Yankees not “cheap out” on a pitcher who’s coming off a terrible, injury-marred season, had surgery, won’t be ready til July at the earliest, and was something of an anomaly even when he was successful?

      • BklynJt

        I really had no opinion either way, just blabbing on making conversation.

  • BklynJT

    Unlike Theo and the Red Sox, who seem to pride themselves on winning in every free agent signing (e.g., paying below fare market value or beating the Yankees to the signing), I think Cashman and the Yankees have always been fare when giving deals to players. With that said, they have been very cautious with Wang, rightfully so. I can see the Yankees going either way, but more likely on the cautious side with Wang, again rightfully so.

    • whozat

      wait…so now it’s bad to pride yourself on spending your resources as wisely as possible?

      That’s just dumb.

      • BklynJt

        Hmmm, I don’t think that’s what I said, or meant to say, at least regarding the Yankees. I was only stating a tendancy that I have noticed regarding how the Yankees usually treat free agents. While alot of “experts” like to claim the Yankees over paid on players, it’s more accurate that they were giving them fare market value or at least what they believe the players are worth (e.g., cc, Tex, aj, and even arod).

        As far as the red sox, 1) why you defending them? 2) i was merely playing to my perception that theo likes to mak moves that make him look smart (e.g., oh he was so smart in signing smoltz and penny on the cheap, although we all know how that turned out). Also, the red sox are very cut throat in their negotiations with players, even ones that have done so much for them (see manny, Pedro, Damon) which is really the smart move but shows a lack of loyalty to their players, while the Yankees normally are more willing to go the extra mile to make their core players happy, which has not necessarily been a bad thing since we sitting here with #27.

        Anyway, of course you should spend wisely, but also be aware that sometimes you just need to open up that check book and show your players the loyalty and repsect they deserve. Not saying Wang deserves that, but jetes and some others certainly do. I have faith that Cashman would do what’s right, I dont have that same belief if theo was running the Yankees.

  • JobaWockeeZ

    Sign him for cheap since I doubt much teams will try and get him. I want to see how he can pitch if he’s completely healthy and if he’s effective he can be a long man/spot starter thing if someone gets injured.

    Depth disappears in an instant and if he can be effective in the middle of the season, that would be great.

    AJ is still an injury risk and maybe even Pettitte. And for all we know Joba might be a little hurt too. Or some freak thing will happen to CC or Hughes.

    Point is they’ll need the depth. Better than relying on Guadin/Mitre every fifth day.

    • steve (different one)

      why wouldn’t other teams try to get him?

      he’s exactly the kindof guy a budget conscious team should and would go after. low risk high upside.

      • Sweet Dick Willie

        I’m not sure a budget conscious team would be willing to spend upwards of $5 mil on a pitcher coming off a major injury and most likely won’t be available to pitch the whole season.

  • gxpanos

    I feel like with the thin FA pitching market, 5.5-6 mill for Wang (assuming the Andrews assessment is positive) is the kind of thing the Yanks should use their resources for. It’s still only a one-year commitment. Like somebody said, it’s like Smoltz last year, except with a guy who’s not over the hill and who won’t have to adapt to the ALE or a new team.

  • Nick Baratta

    I wouldn’t offer him arb…but i’d match a contract another team was offering him.

    Its not like the guy had a 3.5 era this year before he got hurt. He’s still got to figure out his motion and delivery and get back to form before he’s worth anywhere close to 5-6mil

  • BklynJt

    Since when did 5-6 mil become a big deal in the realm of baseball contracts??? I know we are in recesscion but I recall pitchers with 1/5 the potential of Wang getting that kinda of contract easily several years ago.

    • The Three Amigos

      Wang may not even be able to pitch the entire year. That is why it is a big deal.

  • Jesse

    I wonder if Wang would accept an incentive structured deal. Something like the pro-rated amount of his possible arbitration amount for July forward for this year. A second year at that salary but if he makes 8 starts this year his salary rises to 6 million in 2011 and activates a third year team option at 10 million.

    I think if he goes to the market NL teams will try to snatch him up.

  • Kiko Jones

    Personally, I thing a pitcher of Wang’s caliber should not be discarded so easily, despite the injury issues. As some have already posted here, a pro-rated, incentive-laden deal would be the judicious way to go, IMHO.

  • The Artist

    Fans aren’t going to want to hear this, because we all want things resolved and tied up nice and neatly. But they probably will (and should) take a ‘wait and see’ approach. I think Wang won’t be resolved until he starts throwing again, which as Joe detailed will be next spring. They’ll want to see what he looks like before investing any money in him. It’s the smart move.

    After they look at him, he will still get an incentive-laden offer. But how much they’ll be willing to guarantee will depend on how he looks in the spring, and from Wang’s end how much is guaranteed will heavily influence where he goes.

    One very important note about Wang, he may be more valuable to the Yanks than anyone else. When he’s right, he’s an extreme ground ball pitcher who gives up very few Home Runs. The new Yankee Stadium yielded a franchise record in HRs this year. He could be an even better fit if there’s an early injury to one of the starters and/or we never get the 8th inning situation settled. I assume Joba and Hughes will be our #4 and #5 starters next year, so the primary set up role that Hughes performed so well last year is an open question.

  • larryf

    Ivan Nova at Scranton last year and winter ball now. He’s got great stuff and just needs a bit more command of the strike zone. He is close. I talked to his catcher, Chris Stewart, after he pitched in Durham. The Yanks may prefer him, after a good winter, over CMW and his assorted injuries…

    • The Three Amigos

      why cant they have both?

  • Mike HC

    He is too good to just give up on. Even last year, the guy was throwing 93-95 mph. It is an expensive risk, but I think it is worth it.

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  • RobC

    I agree Wang has been too good to just give up on.
    $5 million seems a lot for a pitcher who did nothing last year but it seems the market price.
    Hopefully he gets a good prognosis from Dr Andrews – who should be in the Hall of Fame.
    With the pitching decisions they have Wang is probably worth the gamble.
    Sorry I do not mean to reopen a much heated past debate but based on Joba’s two seasons as a starter and what he has done as a reliever along with the injury potential of his mechanics (knee at foot plant) I think he is better off in the pen and not a viable starter option.

  • Jake H

    I think that the Yanks should try to sign him to a 2 year deal. 3 million this year and 6 million for next year. You get a good insurance for the rotation if he can come back. You also give yourself options for the following year since by the end of the year Wang “should” be healthy.

    Also if he isn’t pitching that well they could always try to trade him. A 6 million dollar salary isn’t that much for a guy who won 19 games twice.

    • Reggie C.

      I really wonder if Wang and his agent would let the organization buy out Wang’s remaining 2 arbitration years at under $ 6mm annum. Would they sign a subsequent 2 year offer at lower money?

      These guys might blame the Yankees doctors and decision-makers (Joe g. included) for putting Wang on a frenetic recovery schedule.

      Now, I think Wang’s injury is severe enough to warrant a non-tender of arbitration. I’d then try to sign him at a far lesser amount, but only at a year-to-year approach.

      Wang’s contributions for 2010 are really up in the air. We’ve seen him be historically bad last season. The arm strength might take a long time to return as well. Sorry, but there are better, more surer options on the market.

      Dont offer arbitration. Tender him a million dollar minor league contract. See what happens. Proceed to then debate whether Ben Sheets or Rich Harden fits. Harden is a type-B free agent.

  • Pasqua

    It seems reasonable to think that, even if the Yanks non-tender him, he would still make more money by re-signing with us (be it a minor league deal, or not) as an injured player than he would would most / all other organizations. This might be a situation where the Yanks want to play their proverbial hand, gamble a bit, and see what happens.

    • Pasqua

      That being said, I’ve always been a fan of Wang’s and hope, whatever happens, he continues to enjoy success. He’s always been an easy guy to root for.

  • Chris

    Call me crazy, but I see the Yankees signing him for a 1+1 type deal. Something like $4M + $6M team option for 2011. There is not benefit in getting Wang on a 1 year deal since he likely won’t pitch for the first half of the season, but he could come back and be valuable in 2011. This would be similar to the Lieber deal from a few years back, or Mitre’s deal this year.

  • Taz

    Getting away from Wang story, does anyone else think it’s ridiculous for the Yankees to exercise $1.25 mil on Mitre of the 6.59 ERA when pretty much any scrub from the minors would offer the same ability? I’d rather add that money to Wang’s offer and bring aforementioned scrub when necessary.

    • Evil Empire

      Mitre was less than a year away from TJ surgery and he’s still in his 20s. Definitely worth $1.25M for a groundball pitcher with upside. We need starting pitching depth, and he’s one more guy we can throw out there should any of the top 5 not be able to play.

      • Taz

        What upside does he have? He’s always been a pretty crappy pitcher. No scouting report I’ve read indicates that he has “stuff” like a 93 mph fastball or a 1 foot breaking sinker. At best he’ll go from a 6.59 ERA to his career 5+ ERA if he wasn’t fully recovered from the Tommy John surgery. There’s no reason to expect him to miraculously become a better pitcher than he has been.

        Wouldn’t it make more sense to go with a guy with a past history of success with (hopefully after Andrews checks him) no reason not to recover from shoulder surgery?

        There’s always Aceves and Ian Kennedy (I know he had surgery also) if you’re looking depth.

  • OkulaFan67

    Taz, you are “dead-on-balls” accurate and took the words out of my mouth. Take the $1.25 mil you would waste on Mitre as a basis for a contact with Wang. The upside of Mitre is, well, nothing!

  • Geg

    U can’t offer him arb. It’s dumb. What u do is sign him to a multi yr
    contract if u want him.

  • Geg

    Plus Wang is better off in the NL. His stuff translates better

  • Evil Empire

    Because its the Yankees’ money and not say, the Twins’ money, I say give the guy arb and its not really a tough call. That’s of course if Dr. A gives him the nod.

    If we get CMW healthy, the upside is tremendous – even if he’s just 80% of the pitcher that the Wang of 06/07 was. Having a groundball pitcher like him is always good thing, and especially so in Yankee Stadium. Plus, if I’m not mistaken, if the gamble *does* pay off, he’s also arb eligible in 2011.

  • toad

    I think you have to keep Wang. How can you just drop a guy who could recover to be a solid starter?

    Let’s suppose Wang returns to form after coming back next year. What is he worth for 2011? That’s the critical year. A big part of what you pay in 2010 is just buying an option on 2011. That’s a valuable option.

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