Archive for Chien-Ming Wang
Right-hander Chien-Ming Wang has exercised an opt-out clause in his contract and the Yankees have granted him his release, the team announced. I guess he had more opt-out clauses than the five that were originally reported. Ken Rosenthal says he will sign with the Blue Jays and join their rotation next week.
Wang, 33, pitched to a 2.33 ERA (3.36 FIP) with 58% ground ball rate in 58 innings across nine starts for Triple-A Scranton this year. Rumor has it he was seeking a big league contract before opting out of his contract, and it looks like Toronto is willing to give him one. The Jays are dealing with a ton of pitching injuries and need the help. The emergency of Vidal Nuno and Michael Pineda‘s encouraging rehab pushed Wang further out of the picture, so it’s no surprise he opted out. Oh well.
Via Joel Sherman: Chien-Ming Wang‘s agent has told the Yankees his client will only opt-out of his minor league contract on Friday if he has a Major League contract offer in hand from another team. Friday is the second of five opt-out dates in CMW’s contract. The next three are June 30th, August 10th, and August 31st.
Wang, 33, has pitched to a 2.65 ERA (3.40 FIP) with a 58% ground ball rate in 51 innings spread across eight starts for Triple-A Scranton this year. Sherman hears his stuff is nowhere near its 2006-2007 levels — no surprise following the torn shoulder capsule — and he’s unlikely to find that big league job in the next two days. The Mets are one team Sherman says has no interest. So, barring a big surprise in the next 48 hours or so, CMW will remain in the organization for at least another month.
3:38pm: Brian Cashman confirmed Joba suffered the injury warming up on Tuesday. He called it a “mild” strain, for what it’s worth. A decision has not been made about who will be called up, but it definitely will not be Clay Rapada or Chien-Ming Wang according to the GM. Rapada can be called back up to the big leagues starting tomorrow.
2:44pm: The Yankees have placed right-hander Joba Chamberlain on the 15-day DL with a right oblique strain, the team announced. The DL stint is retroactive to April 28th, so he is eligible to return in a week and four days. Obliques are tricky though, he could easily be out longer. David Robertson missed a month with an oblique issue last year, for example.
Joba, 27, warmed up on Tuesday but did not appear in the game, as our Bullpen Workload page shows. I guess that’s when it happened. He pitched in three straight games last weekend and there was no indication he was hurt. No word on who will take his place on the roster just yet, but Cody Eppley seems like a safe bet. Joba has pitched pretty well this year (3.86 ERA and 3.45 FIP), especially of late. Shawn Kelley seems likely to assume seventh inning duties along with Boone Logan.
The Yankees handled most of their offseason pitching business back in November, when they re-signed the veteran trio of Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte, and Hiroki Kuroda. With David Phelps set to serve as the sixth starter and Michael Pineda on his way back from shoulder surgery, the team had some depth. They did, however, spend some time looking for a veteran seventh starter type to stash in Triple-A, just someone to have around in case all hell broke loose. It wasn’t a huge priority, but it was definitely an item on the agenda.
It wasn’t until late-March, near the very end of Spring Training that the Yankees found their seventh starter. They signed former ace Chien-Ming Wang to a minor league contract after his solid showing in the World Baseball Classic and impressive private workouts for the team in Tampa. The sinkerballer has since made three starts for Triple-A Scranton (0.95 ERA, 2.94 FIP, 59% grounders) and declined to use the first opt-out clause in his contract earlier this week. The next opt-out date is a little less than a month away.
Wang, 33, is nowhere near the pitcher he was during his 2005-2008 heyday with the Yankees. Injuries, most notably surgery for a torn shoulder capsule in 2009, have sapped some heat from his trademark sinker, which used to regularly sit in the 93-96 mph range. Reports from his last Triple-A start indicate he touched the 90-91 mph, which is a step up from where he was in his first two outings. The television gun during the WBC in March had him right around 90 mph, but TV guns are not to be trusted.
“(It was a) cold night, but his fastball velocity was only 87-88, with some sink … Not the Wang of old. Threw strikes, but not impressive for me,” said one scout who had seen CMW recently to Andy Martino. Torn capsules are no joke, no one has ever come back from one and had the same kind of success they had before the injury. That’s a list of pitchers that includes Mark Prior, John Maine, Johan Santana, and Rich Harden.
Despite all of that, I find myself cautiously optimistic about Wang’s ability to contribute to the big league team at some point this year. I’m certain that feeling is mostly nostalgia-driven, but he did somewhat resemble the CMW of old during the WBC — thanks to the plethora of quick ground ball outs — and is showing decent velocity in the upper levels of the minors. I’m not sure what more we could ask for at this point.
The Yankees have some questions at the back of the rotation right now thanks to Ivan Nova‘s triceps and the general uncertainty surrounding David Phelps and Vidal Nuno. Add in Andy Pettitte’s and Phil Hughes‘ recent back trouble, and it’s not a stretch to think the team may have to call on Wang at some point this summer. Will he show enough to earn that shot, and furthermore, will he stick around long enough to take advantage of it? If he continues to pitch well in Triple-A and settles into that 90-91 mph consistently, I have to think some teams will come calling with big league offers when that next opt-out date comes around in a few weeks.
Something about Wang being back healthy and back in the organization makes me irrationally happy. Irrationally happy and hopeful. I know he’s so very unlikely to help the team in a meaningful way this year — he hasn’t been an effective big leaguer since hurting his foot in 2008, remember — but the fan in me wants to see him and that sinker in pinstripes having success. At the same time, I know that if Wang does resurface in the Bronx, it’s because something will have gone wrong elsewhere on the pitching staff. CMW is pitching well enough and showing encouraging velocity in Triple-A right now, and as tough as it is, we have to be careful not to get our hopes up too much.
Via Focus Taiwan: Chien-Ming Wang decided to remain with the Yankees following the first opt-out date in his minor league contract, agent Alan Chang confirmed. There are five opt-out dates in the contract: April 30th, May 31st, June 30th, August 10th, and August 31st. (h/t goterpsgo)
Wang, 33, has pitched to a 0.95 ERA (2.94 FIP) with a 59% ground ball rate in 19 innings across three starts for Triple-A Scranton. He reportedly hit 90-91 mph with his trademark sinker in last night’s seven-inning complete game after sitting in the mid-to-upper-80s the first two times out. If Wang has a few strong weeks and continues to show legitimate low-90s velocity, there’s no doubt he’ll get some big league rotation offers. For now, he’ll remain with the team for at least another month.
Got five questions for you this week. Please use the Submit A Tip box in the sidebar to send us anything throughout the week.
No, I don’t. Not at all. Wang, who turned 33 in March, hasn’t been an effective pitcher since hurting his foot in Houston in 2008. He’s managed a 6.39 ERA (5.12 FIP) with a 53.2% ground ball rate in 136.2 innings since then, and most of that came in the NL East with the Nationals. Wang looked great in the World Baseball Classic, almost like his old self, but he faced two teams (Australia and Japan) with a combined zero big leaguers on the roster. It doesn’t mean much.
The guy the Yankees had from 2005-2008 is long gone by now. Wang has had some very serious injuries since then, most notably the dreaded torn shoulder capsule. Guys who have had that surgery never come back the same. I’m talking Rich Harden, Johan Santana, Mark Prior, Chris Young, John Maine, and others. They never come back the same. Wang will join the Triple-A rotation today and if things go his way, maybe we’ll see him in the big leagues at some point. I don’t see any way he is better than Nova or Hughes right now. No chance at all.
Mark asks: Care to take a crack at predicting the 2014 outfield?
Unless Ichiro Suzuki manages to play his way off the roster this year — I don’t think it will happen, but it’s possible — I’m pretty sure it will be the same outfield they have now. Vernon Wells in left, Brett Gardner in center, and Ichiro in right. I think they’ll let Curtis Granderson walk as a free agent and find a better right-handed hitting platoon guy than Ben Francisco. Brennan Boesch could also be in the mix if he impresses this year.
In a perfect world, some of the kids in the minors will start to push those guys for spots next year. Zoilo Almonte has had an insane start to his Triple-A career these last few weeks, but let’s see how things play out this summer before ticketing him for the Hall of Fame. Tyler Austin, Slade Heathcott, and Ramon Flores could all wind up outfield options at some point in 2014, just probably not on Opening Day. I do think they’ll start the year with the veterans though, they always do.
Taylor asks: With Jeter’s injury and eventual retirement looming, would the Braves Tyler Pastornicky be a reasonable target to take over shortstop in the next few seasons? Blocked in Atlanta by Andrelton Simmons.
Pastornicky, 23, was originally drafted by the Blue Jays before going to the Braves in the Yunel Escobar trade. He opened last year as Atlanta’s everyday shortstop before playing his way back to the minors (65 wRC+) and opening the door for Simmons. It’s early, but he’s raked in Triple-A so far this year (160 wRC+).
Baseball America ranked Pastornicky as the seventh best prospect in the Braves system prior to last year (he wasn’t eligible for this year’s list). Here’s a snippet of the subscriber-only scouting report…
He has a good feel for hitting and makes consistent line-drive contact, though he could stand to draw a few more walks. He doesn’t have a lot of strength, but he has a quick bat and could develop some gap power. Pastornicky has plus speed and the aptitude to steal bases. He has above-average range at shortstop, and he could get more out of his average arm with a more consistent arm slot.
They also note he’s exceeded expectations during his march to the big leagues and is a big-time competitor with good baseball instincts.
I’m not sure if Pastornicky will ever hit enough to be a big league regular, even at shortstop, but I do think he has a better chance of playing the position everyday than Eduardo Nunez just because of his defense. Nunez’s throws have been greatly improved in the early going, but he’s still a below-average defender overall. They’re very similar offensively players — contact guys with speed — but the defense separates them. I like both guys as stopgaps more than long-term shortstop solutions.
Justin asks: I know this question may lend itself to a long post, but can you address possible options for the Yankees to build/maintain a strong pitching staff for 2014-2016? Given the impending retirements of Andy Pettitte and Hiroki Kuroda and the lack of impact free agents, they’ve got a lot of eggs in the Michael Pineda/Manny Banuelos basket.
Oh don’t worry, the Yankees will just sign some veteran pitchers to one-year deals and get crazy unexpected production. I’m thinking one-year deals worth $10M for Roy Halladay and Tim Lincecum this offseason, putting them in line for about 6 WAR in 2014. It is the Yankees way and it is their destiny.
In all seriousness, I do think veterans on one-year deals will be the crutch they lean on to fill out the roster while waiting (hoping) for some young players emerge from the farm system. The Yankees do the one-year veteran thing better than anyone, and as long as they use it as a way to supplement the roster rather than employ it as a core-building strategy, it works for me. It’s tough to see them finding veteran pitchers as productive as Kuroda and Pettitte on a one-year deals, but who knows? Maybe Halladay or Lincecum will be that guy.
Mark asks: Single biggest reason attendance appears to be lagging over the last two years?
Probably ticket prices. It costs a family of four about $100 just to sit in the grandstand, and that doesn’t include food and parking and all that. Suddenly a family outing to the ballpark on a weekend is a $200 event. There are countless other ways to spend that $200 and get more entertainment bang of the buck. So yeah, I do think they priced out a portion of the fan base and that’s a big reason why attendance is lagging. Obviously there is more going on here than just that. Eventually the Yankees will come up with a solution (dynamic pricing? hello???) that doesn’t involve blaming StubHub.
Sunday: The contract is worth $3M at a big league level according to George King and Kevin Kernan. I assume that’s pro-rated for the time he’s actually on the roster, which is typical. Still a pretty nice chunk of change for Triple-A depth guy. The contract does include an opt-out clause, but the exact date is unknown.
Saturday: The Yankees have announced the signing and it is indeed a minor league contract. No word on how much he’ll make if he pitches in the big leagues yet. Wang will speak to the media following a workout Monday morning and will presumably discuss his decision to return to the team and the health of his shoulder. Hopefully we get to see him in a Grapefruit League game before the season starts.
Friday: The Yankees have been searching for a veteran starter to stash in Triple-A, and that search has led them to a familiar name. Jon Heyman reports the club has agreed to sign Chien-Ming Wang to what I assume is a minor league contract. He was in Tampa this week to throw bullpens and showcase himself for the team.
Wang, 33 next week, threw 12 shutout innings for Chinese Taipei in the World Baseball Classic earlier this month. The Yankees were one of a number of clubs to scout him during the tournament — reports indicate his trademark sinker was clocked in the 88-92 mph range — and apparently they liked what they saw enough to bring him in for more workouts. Obviously the two sides are familiar with each other.
Due to numerous injuries, most notably a torn shoulder capsule that required surgery in July 2009, Wang has not been an effective big league pitcher since hurting his foot running the bases in Houston in June 2008. He pitched to a 3.79 ERA (3.90 FIP) with a 60.5% ground ball rate in 628.2 innings from 2005-2008, but since then he’s managed a 6.39 ERA (5.12 FIP) with a 53.2% ground ball rate in 136.2 innings. The Yankees are clearly banking on his World Baseball Classic showing being legit.
Wang will join a Triple-A Scranton rotation that will also include lefty Vidal Nuno and righties Adam Warren, Brett Marshall, and Dellin Betances. He’ll be able to opt-out of his contract on June 1st if he’s not called up to the big leagues thanks to the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, which is a road the team will cross when the time comes. Wang looked pretty darn good in the WBC, but he’s still unlikely to contribute much at the big league level. Either way, it’s no-risk move with some neato nostalgia involved.
Via Josh Norris: Chien-Ming Wang is with the Yankees in Tampa and is working out for the team. He’ll throw a few bullpen sessions, stuff like that. Ken Davidoff confirmed with the right-hander’s agent that no deal has been reached and they are still talking to multiple teams.
Wang, 32, pitched very well for Chinese Taipei in the World Baseball Classic, throwing 12 scoreless innings across two starts. His trademark sinker was clocked in the 88-92 mph range and the Yankees have had interest in him for about a month now. We know the club is looking for a veteran starter to stash in Triple-A, but the fact remains that Wang has not been an effective pitcher since hurting his foot running the bases in Houston in June 2008. That said, if what he showed during the WBC — heavy sinkers and lots of quick outs — was legit, he’d be perfect on a minor league deal.
As expected, the Yankees had someone on hand to scout Chien-Ming Wang during his World Baseball Classic start on Friday night and remain interested in signing him according to Joel Sherman and Jon Heyman. George King says his fastball was clocked in the 88-92 mph range, which is pretty good considering a) the extent of his shoulder injuries, and b) it’s only early-March. Wang, 32, held a weak Australia lineup to four singles in six scoreless innings despite the mandatory 65-pitch limit.
Meanwhile, Nick Cafardo says the Yankees were one of five teams with “major interest” in Javy Vazquez before he blew out his knee and required surgery. The 36-year-old reportedly threw the ball very well during his winter ball stint in Puerto Rico and was considering a return to MLB after sitting out last summer, though the knee injury is likely to keep him out all year. Despite Wang’s lack of success since his mid-2008 foot injury and Vazquez’s ugly stints in pinstripes, the Yankees aren’t leaving stones unturned as they search for a veteran starter to stash in Triple-A for depth. Wang looked pretty darn good the other night, I’d be cool with giving him a minor league deal if the medicals check out.
Via Joel Sherman & George King: The Yankees continue to seek a veteran pitcher to stash in the Triple-A rotation, so they’ll scout Chien-Ming Wang with Team Taiwan during the World Baseball Classic. The former Yankees right-hander impressed Spring Training pitching instructor Billy Connors with a recent workout and is said to be seeking a Major League contract.
Wang, 33 next month, has not been an effective pitcher since hurting his foot running the bases during interleague play back in 2008. He got clobbered with the Yankees in 2009 and missed the entire 2010 season following surgery to repair his shoulder capsule. Wang pitched to a 6.68 ERA (5.85 FIP) with a 52.9% ground ball rate in 32.1 innings for the Nationals last year, and PitchFX clocked his trademark sinker in the low-90s. There’s no way I’d give him a guaranteed contract, but he would be a fine Triple-A depth guy. I’d prefer someone with a little more certainty, but that guy really doesn’t exist.