Obi-Wang K-Nobody lost his arbitration case. Poor guy is going to have to make a living off of the $4M he will earn.
Enough of this steroid talk. This hearing is a joke. In other Yankee news, Kat O’Brien reports in Newsday that Chien-Ming Wang wanted a long-term deal, but the Yankees said no. As Wang put, the Yanks told him that they would rather not sign a deal because it’s tough for pitchers to stay healthy. I wonder if the Yanks are concerned about Wang’s October performance. 5.2 innings do not a career make.
Kat O’Brien, on her first day in Tampa, checked in with Chien-Ming Wang, and the Yanks’ ace said he took his playoff failures pretty hard. It took Wang a month to get over the losses, and he says that his arm was dropping so that he couldn’t get on top of his sinker. With the youngster breathing down his neck, Chien-Ming Wang will, I predict, turn in a big season in 2008.
While the contract dispute is a matter of $600,000, chump change to the Yankees, the Yanks will most likely head to arbitration with Chien-Ming Wang on February 14. Happy Valentine’s Day. Wang wants $4.6 million; the Yankees want to pay him $4 million. I’d think the Yanks would reward one of the better AL starters with the extra $600K. Brian at Depressed Fan offers up an excellent analysis of the situation.
Not a huge milestone, but today is the day teams and players exchange arbitration figures. Wilson Betemit, Chien-Ming Wang, Brian Bruney, and Robinson Cano are due raises. Teams and players can negotiate contacts up until the hearing, so today is just a formality. As PeteAbe notes, the Yanks never give out long-term contracts to arbitration guys. They even went to a hearing with Derek Jeter before the ’99 season — and lost.
The Yanks’ once and future ace Chien-Ming Wang would like a long-term deal from the Yankees, but as we know, the Yanks are loathe to give those out to their youngsters. More newsworthy in that Peter Abraham piece, however, is word that Wang thinks his agent is working on a deal. Last we heard, Wang’s agent approached the Yanks about a long-term deal, and when the Yanks told him to make the initial offer, he opted against doing so. That’s no way to run a business.
I love Chien-Ming Wang doubters simply because his success makes their collectives heads explode.
Wang, the devastatingly effective sinkerballer, has one again this year emerged as the ace of a talented and expensive Yankee rotation. After last night’s masterpiece – 7.1 IP, 5 H, 1 ER – Wang is now 17-6 with a 3.69 ERA. As Peter Abraham noted, Wang has become a true Yankee stopper. He is 8-2 in 11 starts following Yankee losses.
But still the doubters counter with his strike-out numbers. He shouldn’t be this good, they say. He struck out one Mariner in 7.1 innings. His season’s K/9 IP stands at a meager 4.51 – a marked increase over last year’s 3.14 number but still a low total. But still, Wang stands tall with 17 wins, first among Major Leaguers. And for good measure, he’s nearly topped his stellar 2006 season after missing his first four starts due to a hamstring injury.
So how does he do it? Well, you and I know it: It’s the groundballs, stupid. Last night’s game showed the beauty of those groundballs. Wang induced 17 groundballs while giving up just three flyballs (and one home run to a righty for just the second time this year). His defense turned three double plays behind him, and the Mariners simply could not deal with his sinker.
I love it. I love how Wang gets one double play every 5.78 innings. I love the 2.69 GB/FB ratio which is lower this year than last because his strike out numbers are mercifully on the rise. I love how opponents have managed to hit just .264/.321/.369 off of Wang this year. And I love how the Yankees will be led by Chien-Ming Wang as he tries to deliver the team to the postseason all while gunning for 20 wins.
Watching young pitchers develop into top-notch starters is one of the sheer pleasures of baseball, and that’s what we’re seeing now in a pitcher who has now won 36 games since April of 2006. That’s what we’re seeing in a pitcher who’s given up 2 ER over his last 22.1 IP. The Ace has definitely arrived.