Dec
02

Wang likely to hit free agency, but Yanks have some options

By

If the Yankees didn’t offer arbitration to any of their free agents, what does that mean for the players still under team control? Will the Yankees continue to play cautiously and avoid offering a contract to, say, Chad Gaudin, who could make $3 million or more in 2010? Or will they treat this like they would in every other year, offering contracts to most of their arbitration-eligible players?

The deadline to tender contracts is December 12, giving the Yanks about a week and a half to make their decisions. They have five arbitration-eligible players: Gaudin, Chien-Ming Wang, Melky Cabrera, Brian Bruney, and Sergio Mitre. To be clear, the Yankees are not offering arbitration to these players; an offer would imply that the player has a say in the matter. Rather, the Yankees will decide whether to tender them contracts. If they do, they have a few months to work out a deal, or else face an arbitration hearing.

After season-ending injuries in two straight years, Chien-Ming Wang remains a question mark. He’s been cleared to throw off flat ground, the first and very important step in rehabilitation. Still, he is far from a return, and although his time table looks optimistic it’s a near certainty that he won’t be ready for Opening Day. This would be a tough gamble for any team, but hey, these are the Yankees, right? When has a few million gotten in the way of a high upside project?

In years past, perhaps the Yankees would have tendered Wang a contract. Given their recent decision to not offer arbitration to any of their free agents, however, it’s clear that the Yankees aren’t operating as they have in the past. At this point I don’t think there’s any way the Yankees tender Wang a contract, meaning he will be a free agent come December 12. That could mean his departure from New York.

It doesn’t have to be that way, though. Given the arbitration decisions of last night — of the 74 players with either Type A or Type B status, only 24 were offered arbitration — it appears teams are preparing for a depressed market. This might mean that a team once willing to take a gamble on Wang (of which the Yankees would normally be one) might not. He’ll get a number of minor league offers, for sure, but in that case why would he leave the Yankees, the only team he’s known in his professional career?

The Yankees can make it an easy decision, too. They could work with Wang to create a split contract, one that would start as a minor league deal, but after certain milestones would become either a major league deal at a prorated amount, or else an out clause with a buyout parting gift. That could be based on date — say, if he’s not on the 40-man roster by June 1 — or a minor league innings milestone — after he pitches X number of innings in the minors, the Yankees would have to call him up or cut him.

This is the type of deal that could work out for both parties. The Yakees get risk control, and Wang gets some sort of guarantee. If the Yankees decide to cut him loose once he reaches the date or milestone in his contract, he can sign on with another team. Otherwise he’d be on the Yankees 25-man roster. It’s a level of security for Wang and a hedge for the Yanks. True, another team could offer this, but I think that if the Yanks did that Wang would accept.

In just over a week we’ll probably find Wang on the non-tender list. We then probably won’t hear much about him for a while, as the Yankees tend to their other off-season concerns. I do hope that the Yankees find a way to bring him back, even if it means a split minors-majors deal. Even at 80 percent of his 2006-2007 capacity, he’s an asset in the rotation. The Yanks can use all the pitching depth they can get.

Categories : Pitching

87 Comments»

  1. Rose says:

    To be clear, the Yankees are not offering arbitration to these players; an offer would imply that the player has a say in the matter. Rather, the Yankees will decide whether to tender them contracts.

    When would you offer arbitration in a similar situation to these guys? When the players are significantly better than these guys are? haha

    • Chris says:

      When he says it’s not an “arbitration offer” it’s not the arbitration part that he’s referring to – it’s the offer part. The contract would still go through arbitration (unless they reach an agreement before that), but there really isn’t anything about it that makes it an offer.

  2. The Yankees can make it an easy decision, too. They could work with Wang to create a split contract, one that would start as a minor league deal, but after certain milestones would become either a major league deal at a prorated amount, or else an out clause with a buyout parting gift. That could be based on date — say, if he’s not on the 40-man roster by June 1 — or a minor league innings milestone — after he pitches X number of innings in the minors, the Yankees would have to call him up or cut him.

    http://media.ebaumsworld.com/p.....lliant.png (safe)

  3. Accent Shallow says:

    Agreed completely. If they can bring Wang back without guaranteeing him a roster spot, it’s a no-brainer.

  4. steve s says:

    Great analysis as to how to keep Wang a Yankee at least until Yanks can figure out if he can contribute or not. I like that Wang was on the bench for the playoffs as if he were part of the team and that (hopefully) he received a full WS share. Sort of makes him a bit more psychologically tied to Yanks all other variables being somewhat equal.

  5. mryankee says:

    Wang is not an option for next year and so I say good bye and good luck. Man this offseason is really boring so far.

    • Steve H says:

      So 2010 is the only season that matters? I guess if the world is going to end in 2012 I can see the argument that we should focus only on 2010 and 2011, but I don’t get where 2010 is the end-all, be-all.

    • Man this offseason is really boring so far.

      My advice: Start drinking heavily.

      • mryankee says:

        Of course that could all change in about a week. After or during the winter meetings.

        • No, I’ve got a feeling you’re not going to like this offseason.

          You want us to do crazy bold earthshattering moves. We’re not gonna do that, because we know we don’t need to do that, and because there’s better earthshattering moves to be made next offseason.

          • So, go buy a bottle of your favorite hard liquor and drink yourself stupid. Don’t wake up until October, 2010, when we’re back in the playoffs marauding over the league again with virtually the same team.

            It’ll be easier for you that way.

            • mryankee says:

              Man you must be a scout or some kind of baseball wizard. I dont think making one major trade is earthshattering. I also say glaring needs because at present there is no DH or Left fielder. One major trade will not destroy this organization.

              • I also say glaring needs because at present there is no DH or Left fielder.

                There are plenty of DHs and LFs available in free agency. Signing selective free agents instead of trading prospects for players is our modus operandi.

                It’s a smart modus operandi.

                One major trade will not destroy this organization.

                No, it won’t.

                One major trade won’t happen, though, because not making the trade and being patient is the smarter choice than being impatient and making the trade, all things considered.

                • mryankee says:

                  You know why I deal with what you say. 1-you at the very least stand by what you believe and 2-you do make sense presenting your beliefs. I also know if Halladay or Adrian Gonzalez or Miguel Cabrera go to the Sox, you would still believe the Yankees are a better team. I just dont agree with that. The only move I have suggested that would be major is trading for Hallday who we know is available today. We do not know if Johnson-Felix-or any other younger ace type pitcher is available or will be. I have advocated for Halladay because I believe 5 years of Halladay will be worth what you have to give up which none of us know what that package will be. You might think Joba-Phil or both will equal the quality you get from Halladay I do not. I think there is trade that can be made without surrending all your top prospects. I guess we will see

                • I also know if Halladay or Adrian Gonzalez or Miguel Cabrera go to the Sox, you would still believe the Yankees are a better team.

                  A) We probably will be, yes. The Sox aren’t that amazing of a team at the moment.
                  B) Halladay is on the market, but Theo’s not likely to trade for him for the same reason we’re not likely to; it doesn’t make sense to give the Jays prospects for a guy who’ll probably be on the market in a year anyway.
                  C) Gonzalez and Cabrera are going NOWHERE. Book it. Neither team is in any type of position to move either of them. Were they moved, it probably would STILL be a good thing for us, because those deals would RAPE the Red Sox farm systems, even worse than Halladay would.

                  Tone down your Sox paranoia.

                • mryankee says:

                  I am not paranoid I am saying I think if something along those lines were to happen there would be people even in the Yankees organization who would change there offseason perspective.

                • I am saying I think if something along those lines were to happen there would be people even in the Yankees organization who would change there offseason perspective.

                  Nothing over the past half-decade in the historical record agrees with you.

                  Cashman’s shown, at numerous instances, that he’s not going to overreact to whatever the Sox do or don’t do.

                • Evil Empire says:

                  Cashman and Theo operate independently of one another. End of story. They both try to consistently field the best team, with a balanced short term and long term outlook. Sometimes their decisions compete with each others’ MO, and of course their teams are legendary rivals, but that’s all besides the point that one organization does not base any of its decisions on any particular move by the other organization. The closest that it comes to is their evaluation they make that “we need to have a team good enough to win a projected X number of games this season in order to compete in this division”, for Boston that number is always 95.

                  In the short term, BoSox getting A-Gon, Miggy, or Halladay would help them, though I agree with TSJC that it wouldn’t quite put them over the Yankees. It might equal them though, depending on how some of our youngsters perform.

                  In the long term, Boston would face many reciprocities for such a decision, more so than if the Yankees did it because they don’t have as much financial wherewithal. That’s not an argument that it makes sense for the Yankees to do it, its an argument that such a thing would be even worse of a move for Boston. Thus, I actually hope they splurge on a mega-trade.

          • You want us to do crazy bold earthshattering moves

            mryankee at the start of Spring Training:

            http://tinyurl.com/l29o5c

            “Where was the Earth shattering kaboom?!?!”

    • Colombo says:

      What did you expect? We have neither the glaring needs nor the desire to throw large piles of money at people that we did last year. This is a good team. Be happy with that.

      Also, if Wang can be had as mentioned above, on a split contract with an out-clause, there is really no harm in resigning him. At best, we get a dependable starter. At worst, we lose out on a few hundred grand. You say goodbye and good luck, I say let’s see what we can do before we make rash decisions.

      • mryankee says:

        The team was good enough to win last year. This year is totally different I say there are glaring needs. I dont think there are as many needs as other teams but there are glaring needs. Wang is not a glaring need and appears his best days are behind him. I personally dont care if he is back or not-there are more important matters to attend to.

        • So go start a blog and talk about these glaring needs.

        • Colombo says:

          “Good enough” to win 103 games and steamroll through the playoffs. This team was one of the better ones we have seen in a long time. What are these “glaring needs” of the Yankees going into 2010?

          • mryankee says:

            At present a left fielder and DH. I think another starting pitcher(#1 or #2) and maybe a late innning reliever.

            • Colombo says:

              OK, I’ll bite on the LF. If they don’t sign a strict DH, it will be used to rotate in the veterans for 1/2 days off. I don’t like it, but it is a possibility.

              A #1 or #2 starter? No. We have CC and Aj. Why throw large contracts (or worse, prospects) for another Ace when you have two of the better pitchers already. If anything you need a back end starter (Pettitte)/someone to eat innings at league average levels. And as for the late inning reliever, we have Robertson and Marte. Save the draft picks.

              • mryankee says:

                I respect your proposal. I just disagree with your proposal. Again I am not asking for crazy out of line moves. A trade for Halladay which will cost some prospects not all is not out of question to at the very least pursue.

        • Why does everything have to address a GLARING need?

          What about small needs? What about depth? You gotta take care of that stuff too and since it’s much easier you can just do it right away.

          You do little things as they come at you, and doing them does not prevent you from working towards bigger goals.

          • Just because it’s much easier doesn’t mean you can do it right away. If the Yankees could’ve done the depth/small needs stuff “right away,” Mike Cameron would be in Pinstripes right now and they probably would’ve added a buy-low-injury-comeback starter for depth. Just because those guys can be signed for less money and fewer years than the big guys doesn’t mean it’s going to be done quickly.

        • CountryClub says:

          If Wang can come back and be 90% of the pitcher that he was, you’d be very happy to have him.

          • jsbrendog says:

            70% of chien ming wang is still better than sergio mitre (as of now) and most other 4 or 5 starters, especially in the nl

  6. Will says:

    I hope the Yankees do right by Wang, not only because he was a big contributor, but also because I think they have really mishandled his injury (from not protecting him on the bases to how he was handled this spring). I also think it would be foolish to allow Wang to revive his career over what for the Yankees is a relatively small amount.

    • Not protecting him on the bases? What does that even mean?

      • Mike Axisa says:

        Lack of riot gear, obviously.

      • They should have brought Rex Ryan in to teach him how to run a 30 yard sprint to 1B without injuring himself, just like how the Jets brought Joe Girardi in to teach Mark Sanchez how to hookslide to avoid taking a hit on a QB scramble.

      • Thomas says:

        They didn’t give him a rubber when they knew he was trying to score.

      • Will says:

        Meacham waived him around on a hard hit ball to right. Even if he didn’t get injured, there was a good chance for a close play at the plate. Compounding the error was that the Yankees had a 3 or 4 run lead at the time. There is no reason why Wang should have been sent home on that play. Not only did the game situation not dictate it, but Wang, aside from being very important to the rotation, was not experienced running the bases.

        • Are you fucking kidding me? He limped home and the play wasn’t close.

          • I mean, for Mo-sakes, the guy gets paid to run over to cover bases on defense, what, hundreds of times a game? He’s not an invalid.

            Thinking that a 28 year old athlete in his prime would be able to run around the bases without injuring himself should not require a leap of faith.

            It was a freak injury. Shit happens.

            • Riddering says:

              I’m sorry, TSJC, but that’s exactly why they brought in Teixeira. Cashman swore that as long as he remanied GM no Yankee pitcher should ever be discomfited by running to or around bases.

              Oh, and the real reason he visited the team in Atlanta? He saw that Girardi wasn’t pulling the pitchers soon enough before their ABs.

          • Will says:

            Are you able to have a civil discussion, or do you need to resort to childish vulgarity?

            If the former, you might remember that Jeter hit a hard hit ball right to Hunter Pence (who has a good arm). Pence didn’t field the ball cleanly and that’s why there wasn’t a play at the plate. Meachem waived Wang without knowing that Pence wouldn’t make a play, so he made him run hard. Not only did he risk a possible play at the plate (if Pence came up with the ball cleanly), but he also made his pitcher run hard despite having a 4-0 lead. A coaching staffs job is to protect their players when possible. It was incredibly stupid to put Wang at risk.

            Now, if you are not interested in a civil discussion, you can just ignore this post and continue amusing yourself with childish antics.

        • I happened to be there at that game and so it’s seared in my memory forever.

          He started limping before he touched home, and then Cano(?) came out to help him into the dugout. It wasn’t a close play.

        • Zack says:

          http://mlb.mlb.com/media/video.....id=2935802

          video evidence >> your memory

          The ball was in the 2B glove just inside the infield, receiving a lobbed throw from Hunter Pence. as Wang crossed the plate.

          • Will says:

            Pence did field the ball cleanly, but looking at the play, he definitely could have had a play if he came up firing. Now, he may have forgotten that a slow pitcher was at 2B, but that doesn’t change the fact that Meacham should have had Wang going base-to-base. The bottom line is you go out of your way to protect pitchers on the bases, especially in the AL.

            • Zack says:

              So a pitcher should never come 1B on a groundball? That’s an unnecessary risk for him to run over to 1B.

              Or on a pass ball with a guy on third, there might be a collision so just give them the run.

              Or fielding a bunt, he might slip or throw it out of position and hurt himself.

              Or never swing or show bunt, might get hurt.

              Anything else you want to outlaw SP to do?

              • jsbrendog says:

                Anything else you want to outlaw SP to do?

                sucking.

              • Drew says:

                No playing catch with Edwar.

              • Will says:

                Again, if you think that pitchers should be conditioned to run the bases, that’s fine. Make that argument. What purpose is gained by making baseless analogies?

                Pitchers cover 1B all of the time…it is also something dictated by the course of the game. AL pitchers do not regularly run 180 feet and cut a bag. Also, when your team is up 4-0, it is very sensible to be very cautious with pitchers on the bases. It’s not even only about injury. Who knows if that 180 feet doesn’t take a little out of Wang in the next inning? Unless he could lightly jog around on an extra base hit, it makes perfect sense to be extra cautious.

                Sure, the injury was still a freak event, but that’s exactly what caution seeks to avoid. The Yankees should have been more atuned to protecting Wang in that circumstance.

                • Zack says:

                  How is it a baseless argument? He injured his foot running- not while cutting the bag or anything- RUNNING, if you dont think Wang can run 180 feet then that’s stupid, you think SP just throw and thats it?

                  And do you think Yanks should prevent all their pitchers from throwing sliders or curveballs because those pitches put more stress on the elbow/arm? They need to protect those arms.

                • Chris says:

                  Obese middle age men run the bases all the time in softball, and generally don’t end up with lis franc injuries. It’s not like Wang was asked to fight a tiger or something. It’s just running 180 ft.

                • It’s not like Wang was asked to fight a tiger or something.

                  Great. Thanks a lot. Now I’ve got “Wang v. Tiger” stuck in my brain, playing out different scenarios of how the fight would go.

                  Damn you, Chris.

                • Will says:

                  It’s baseless because running 180 feet around the bases is not something AL pitcher practice or regularly do. Even though Wang wasn’t hurt at the point of the cut, it is very possible that the stress of the entire trip round the bases made his foot vulnerable to the eventual injury. Again, Wang may have been a time bomb, but why does it not make sense to be ridiculously cautious with your starting pitcher on the bases, especially when you have a 4-0 lead. If I was managing an AL team, I would instruct my coaches to be cautious to a fault when they are on the bases.

                  That’s really no different from how Girardi treated Mo when he instructed him not to swing. Imagine if Mo tweaked a rib cage swinging away? The chances might be small, but when the reward is also minimal, it makes no sense to take even a slight risk.

                • Zack says:

                  You’re scretching this thing as far as possible just to back up your agument. It’s running 180 feet, you’re just trying to find something to blame.

                  Your theory would mean that SP are going down with foot injuries all the time during inter-league play. Unfortunately for you, that’s not happening.

            • Watching the play again on video… nothing in it looks like Meacham was at fault for sending him.

              Blaming Wang’s freak foot injury on Meacham seems silly to me. It’s a freak foot injury. Whatevs.

              If he doesn’t get hurt there, maybe he gets hurt the very next inning running over to cover first.

            • Zack says:

              Pitcher on 2B yes, it was also 2 outs with a 3-2 count. Wang was moving once Oswalt started his wind-up

  7. Rob in CT says:

    I’ll miss the old CMW. I really don’t think he’s every going to appear again. Man, what a freak thing.

  8. claybeez says:

    I could see Wang choosing to move on. I think it’s been posted that he or his reps have felt the Yanks haven’t taken care of him. There’s:
    -not signing him to an extension
    -wasn’t there also a arb hearing over a measly amount?
    - telling him to not workout his legs last off-season then throwing him under the bus when he didn’t return
    -rushing him up after the concerns about Joba
    -putting him in the pen.

    Just doesn’t seem like a warm and fuzzy relationship from the outside.

  9. Chuck says:

    i think they should give him a 1 million or so contract and hope for the best or just let him walk. That way youre only throwing down say 500k more than what a minor league deal for him would be and you dont have to throw in incentives that he may actually obtain.

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