Wang keeps the door open to pinstriped return

By the Decade: From a strength to a weakness in center
DeRosa appears too rich for the Yanks blood

By all appearances, the Yankees remain interested in Chien-Ming Wang. After the team non-tendered him earlier this month, we learned that they offered him a split contract which would add him to the active roster once his shoulder recovers. A few weeks later, a report surfaced that the Yankees would like the chance to match any other team’s offer. While that doesn’t guarantee that the Yankees would match, it’s clear that they want every opportunity to retain Wang. Might Wang want every opportunity to remain a Yankee?

Sam Borden of the Journal News received word of a recent public appearance wherein Wang said “that there were no hard feelings on his side about being non-tendered.” Not that there should be; any sane team would have done the same. I’m willing to bet, even, that the Yankees are the only team that would have even considered tendering him a contract. But not even the sport’s richest franchise would guarantee Wang $5 million, or more, following pretty serious shoulder surgery.

Just because Wang doesn’t harbor ill will doesn’t mean that he’s willing to return. His statement might have been no more than a publicity bit, to keep satisfied his fans who want to see him continue pitching in pinstripes. After all, Wang does have a few reasons to consider pitching elsewhere, the foremost of which is playing time. The Yankees currently have six starters for five rotation spots, so even if they suffer an injury early in the season they have an in-house replacement. Wang could find himself ready by early June, but no spot in the rotation to fill.

Another, lesser team can offer Wang a guaranteed rotation spot once his shoulder recovers. He could sign with, say, the Astros, knowing that they’ll have a spot for him at any point in the season. That means more innings, which can turn into a bigger payday next winter, Wang’s final year of arbitration. Because the Astros operate with tight pursestrings, they might even non-tender Wang if he pitches well enough in 2010, making him a free agent a year early. That’s certainly a rosy scenario for Wang’s wallet. But is that all he’s after?

Clearly, baseball players have a limited earnings window. This goes especially for pitchers, and especially for pitchers who have suffered three shoulder injuries. But at what point do familiarity and an opportunity to win matter? Wang had to watch as his teammates won the World Series, but he was still right at the center of the celebration at the mound. There has to be a part of him that wants to return and get a chance to contribute to another championship. If that resides high on his priority list, we’ll probably see him back in pinstripes. If it’s really all about the money, he might consider other destinations, even if the Yankees match a deal for 2010. The guaranteed rotation spot in another organization could boost his future earnings.

By the Decade: From a strength to a weakness in center
DeRosa appears too rich for the Yanks blood
  • Matt Imbrogno

    I’d have to think that any team offering Wang a guaranteed spot is not very likely.

    • Joseph Pawlikowski

      No, they won’t guarantee him a spot. But if he recovers, there are a number of teams on which he’d be guaranteed an immediate rotation spot. No such guarantee exists on the Yankees.

    • JMK THE OVERSHARE’s Glenn Beck Complex

      Didn’t the Mets just offer Escobar a ML deal? Just sayin’.

      • Steve H

        The Mets have a ML team these days?

        • JMK THE OVERSHARE’s Glenn Beck Complex

          Daniel Murphy once caught a ball hit near him in the outfield. He was immediately given the LFer job.

          Hilarity ensued.

          • jsbrendog

            hey, remember that time you caught that ball in lf? yeah. that was awesome.


  • Accent Shallow

    I’d love to have Wang back, even if it’s not currently clear where he fits in. Never have enough pitching, etc etc.

    • Johan Iz My Brohan

      CC, AJ, Pettitte, Vazquez, Joba, Hughes, Wang, Gaudin, Mitre, etc…

      holy shit lewk @ teh d3pth!

  • Crazy Eyes Killa

    Funny that you use Houston as an example, something tells me he’s not itching to get back there

  • Andy in Sunny Daytona

    He’s so fragile, maybe we should call him Chien-Ming Vase.

    /Jackie the Jokeman’d

    • Not the Rays

      Oof. idnetc.

      • Andy in Sunny Daytona

        It’s like interpretive art. In other words, it’s pretty awful.

        • jsbrendog

          today we spell redemption a-n-d-y i-n s-u-n-n-y d-a-y-t-o-n-a

  • Not the Rays

    That means more innings, which can turn into a bigger payday next winter, Wang’s final year of arbitration. Because the Astros operate with tight pursestrings, they might even non-tender Wang if he pitches well enough in 2010, making him a free agent a year early.


    Wang is a free agent now, right? Because we non-tendered him? So how is next year his final year of arbitration? If he signs a one-year deal now, regardless of terms, major/minor/split etc. wouldn’t he be a free agent again next winter regardless?


    • DP

      All I can provide as an example is Sergio Mitre, whose option (after 2009’s 1 year deal) was declined yet is still arbitration eligible. Without fully knowing the rule, I’m gonna have to assume signing a deal doesn’t cancel out arbitration.

    • Joseph Pawlikowski

      Nope. In order to become a free agent a player needs to have six years of service time. Wang will not have this after the 2010 season, so he will still be arbitration eligible.

  • Bo

    He has to go to the NL. And he has to go to a team that will almost guarantee him starters innings. To build his value. He’d be better off career wise in Flushing than the Bronx.

    • Steve H

      Does he really want to go the the NL and run the basepaths though? And why does he have to go there? Has he not had plenty of success in the AL (East at that)?

      • JoeX

        An interleague game is what started his problems. Don’t make him run.

    • Plantar Fascitis

      After experiencing success as a yankee, no way he would ever let himself become a met

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  • jsbrendog

    so if they bring back wang and he gets healthy and regains his form in july then do they send joba/hughes back to the pen. i mean, when are these guys gonna get a shot?

    • Steve H

      Not sure what they’d do, but it would be a great problem to have. Maybe you trade one of them for a young cost controlled position player, or trade Vasquez, knowing that his Type A status makes him a very valuable chip.

      • JMK THE OVERSHARE’s Glenn Beck Complex

        2011 is a stacked draft. Supposedly it has much more depth than 2009 and a lot more top-end talent than 2010. May want to have two first round picks, a supplemental pick and a second rounder to really re-fill the farm.

        We’re still a ways away from making those decisions but really, if you think about it, we have two spots open for 2011 if Javy isn’t re-signed and Andy finally retires. I’d be pretty shocked if Wang came back to form, but if that’s the case, you’re looking at CC, AJ, Wang, Hughes, Joba for 2011. As long as Hughes and Joba get enough innings to build their arms and develop some of their pitches a bit more, we should be shooting for 2011 for their full impact.

        Or you offer Wang and Javy arbitration, they both decline and you just got a lot of draft picks and have CC, AJ, Joba, Hughes, and a back-end FA starter or an in-house option like Z-Mac for 2011. Really, this is a pretty good problem to have.

      • OldYanksFan

        Or you trade Wang.
        Joba -or- Phil > Wang (and cheaper)

        • Steve H

          Agreed, though they’d also bring more in return. Moral of the story is, it would be a wonderful situation to be in.

        • Boball

          Two situations: (1) Wang returns to form (the 19 win, devastating sinker form). That Wang is a 1 or 2 starter on most teams. Figure some way to keep *that* Wang. (2) Wang recovers but is never the same Wang. Trade that Wang.

  • Evil Empire

    “there were no hard feelings on his side about being non-tendered.”

    That’s just too easy.

  • gxpanos

    I’d like to have him back. If for no other reason than he’d be an option to take Pettitte’s spot in 2011 (meaning the rotation would be, assuming Javy leaves after this year (not a totally safe assumption, I know), CC, AJ, CMW, Joba, Phil. Who knows? He could be back to his old self by the end of this year. Worth a shot.

  • JMK THE OVERSHARE’s Glenn Beck Complex

    This is one of the threads where a bunch of people from Taiwan comment that he’s a national hero and what the Yankees did to him is disrespectful and he should play for another team that views him as a human being and not as a commodity, right?

    • Evil Empire

      Oh, I thought it was one of the threads where ignoramuses think Wang should’ve taken a non-guaranteed contract from the Yankees in lieu of a more lucrative, guaranteed deal because he “owed” the team.

      • JMK THE OVERSHARE’s Glenn Beck Complex

        Shit. Did I do it wrong?

        • Evil Empire

          Not necessarily. What would be ideal is to lure in masses of both groups of people and have them fight to the death, sell the TV rights to YES, and use the profits to re-sign Wang.


          • JMK THE OVERSHARE’s Glenn Beck Complex

            I’ve always pushed for gladiatorial games. B-Jobbers, Wang apologists, Francessa listeners, no-payroll peanut brainers, Gardner fans all fighting to the death!

            • jsbrendog

              special guest referee:


              • JMK THE OVERSHARE’s Glenn Beck Complex

                Wouldn’t he be a participant, too?

                ::Head Explodes::

  • hikker

    This just in, Wang just hurt his wong while running the bases while training!

    • JMK THE OVERSHARE’s Glenn Beck Complex

      That was hilarious. Is this from your stand-up routine?

      • Bronx Blogger


      • hikker

        No actually my sit down routine and drink a couple of pints of Guiness.

        • Tom Zig

          in shame

  • Mike P

    Fair point, but he could also turn down more money from the Yankees for a higher chance of playing elsewhere. If you’re going down the ‘money isn’t everything’route, you have to consider that ballplayers want to play ball. Just sayin’…

    • Yazman

      Great point, Mike.

      He already celebrated a championship without contributing. The “it’s NOT only about money” premise suggests he pursue the best opportunity to contribute.

  • Nostra-Artist

    If he’s ready to sign elsewhere, and the Yanks refuse to match the offer, will the next RAB headline read:


    Cause, that kinda sounds like it hurts.

  • Yazman

    I’d love to have Wang under a reasonable contract.

    Sometimes, 2 pitchers go down and Wang could top the list (of anyone not named Chamberlain or Hughes).

    Or, if Wang comes all the way back, trade opportunities abound.

  • Peter J. Foti

    I hope they keep Wang, I actually enjoy watching him plan and believe that he helps us win games. But I thought we shouldve kept Matsui, Damon, and Cabrera to, so I guess well have to wait and see.

  • Ryan

    I hope they keep Wang. I have faith that he can return to the pitcher he was a couple years ago.

  • mick

    I hope the Yankees have not given up on Wang. It seems people forget how good he was. If he is healthy it would not surprise me to see him again lead the Yankees in wins. He is definitely worth taking a chance on. He was every bit as good as anyone they now have.

  • http://Kevin Kevin

    I don’t understand why the Yankees wouldn’t offer him a 2-3 year contract. Just a few years ago he was one of the best pitchers in the AL finishing 2nd I believe in the cy young. What’s the worst that happens he struggles and we’re back to where we started but the upside is very high. If he gets back to his old form you have clearly the best rotation and this also allows joba and Hughes to stay in the bullpen which would also be probably the most dominant in the majors. I understand were trying to lower the salary this year but growing up a Yankees fan 1 thing matters and that is winning. And let’s be honest…we have the money

  • adrian

    Wang I think, could be a much preferable choice than what they already have. If he comes back to his 2006-2007 form he could be a top rotation starter. Sergio Mitre, Aceves, Gaudan, Joba, Hughs; they can’t give you that chance of being an ace. If he does come back in his old form, he could come back to the top of the rotation again.And if you keep Wang, you let all the guys that I mentioned go back to being bullpen relievers, and you not only have an amazing rotation, you have a great bullpen. Did you see how much our bullpen dominated when we had that 3-man rotation and we brought all our #4 and #5 starters into the bullpen? We could have the same thing and if Wnag returns into his old form and if Vazquez proves he can be as good as he was with the Braves and come back away from his 2004 form we could have more rest in the starting rotation and a more dominant bullpen.

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