Archive for Chien-Ming Wang
Last week was a pretty eventful one for the Yankees, who brought back Andy Pettitte and added two players to their outfield while trimming the fat in the bullpen. The weekend was just as eventful for ex-Yanks’ ace Chien-Ming Wang, who was handed his walking papers on Saturday night. Six teams (three AL, three NL) immediately expressed interest in the sinkerballer, though the Yanks tried to woo him back with a split contract that guaranteed he’d be in the big leagues once his surgically repaired shoulder was good to go.
Despite all the interest in the former Cy Young runner up, Buster Olney is reporting that Wang might not sign for a few months according to his agent, Alan Nero. His client’s plans for the immediate future including getting checked out by Dr. James Andrews in early January, heading to Taiwan for some R&R, then returning to Arizona to keep working out. Doesn’t sound like the agenda of someone desperate to find a job.
Waiting until early in the season – or even midseason – to sign a contract is one of the newest trends hitting baseball these days. We’ve seen Roger Clemens successfully pull it off numerous times, and Pedro Martinez did the same thing with the Phillies this season. There’s also another guy that tried to pull this off in 2009, though things didn’t go so well for him: Ben Sheets.
Sheets started the offseason as one of the most sought after free agent pitchers, then had a little bit of a setback that was going to push his 2009 debut back, and before you knew it he was having elbow surgery that would sideline him the entire season. Shoulders are much trickier than elbows (remember, there wasn’t any ligament damage in Sheets’ elbow), but if Wang is confident in his health and his ability to recover, then he should (in the words of his agent) “be prudent” and explore what’s out there for him.
Teams will surely be looking for rotation help in March and April and May, and Wang will likely be the best available pitcher on the free market. And, of course, he won’t be ready until basically mid-season anyway, so it makes sense for him to remain patient and see what’s out there. Nero said Wang could eventually re-sign with the Yanks, and if a scenario plays out in which Phil Hughes and/or Joba Chamberlain is struggling, or one of the front three is on the shelf, or basically anything that would open a gaping hole in the rotation, then suddenly that split contract could turn into a Major League guaranteed deal worth more than it might be right now.
Hopefully for Wang, who I’m certain has made millions in endorsements, it’s the right decision.
Photo Credit: Reuters
If Chien-Ming Wang recovers from the shoulder injury he suffered last July, it will probably be with with another team. According to Bill Madden of the Daily News, the Yankees offered Wang a split contract which would guarantee him a spot on the active roster once his shoulder was ready. Wang’s agent, Alan Nero, rejected the offer, informing the Yankees that “Wang would be moving on.” This is not an unexpected development.
A free agent for the first time in his career, Wang surely wants to explore all of his options. Teams other than the Yankees will be interested, and perhaps one of them will offer the guaranteed money upon which Nero insists. There’s no harm in looking, and if no other offers top the Yankees’, chances are the two parties can work out a deal in the future.
The question of Wang’s potential return might hinge on the perceived rift between him and the Yankees. How much of this is true we don’t know, but there have been a few incidents, starting with the Yankees taking him to arbitration in 2008 over $600,000. A source tells Mark Feinsand that Wang is “still bothered” about the incident. Then there is the issue of Wang’s rehab from the lisfranc injury he suffered in 2008.
One story that sticks out in my mind is when Nero approached the Yankees about a possible contract extension. The Yankees said, “Make us an offer,” and talks ended there. That was before the arbitration incident.
For now, it appears Wang has his sights set elsewhere. There are reportedly six teams interested in him. The main questions here, I think, are of how Wang really feels about how the Yankees treated him, and of whether the Yankees are willing to top an offer from another team. The split minor/major league contract was already a good offer. We’ll see if Wang can get a similar one elsewhere.
Glove slap to iYankees for the Madden link.
Via Mark Feinsand, the Yankees have decided to not tender a contract to Chien-Ming Wang. Sergio Mitre, Melky Cabrera, and Chad Gaudin were all offered deals. “There’s no doubt that we had to make a tough decision,” said GM Brian Cashman. “We are still hopeful that our relationship can continue, but those decisions are yet to be made.” Hopefully something can be worked to out to bring the sinkerballer back for depth, but I’m not going to hold my breath.
Good luck, Wanger.
Update: Since this is probably your last chance, make sure you bring your best CMW double entendres in the comments.
The deadline for teams to offer contracts to players under their control is midnight tonight, and Ken Davidoff reports that the Yankees will not tender Chien-Ming Wang a contract. Davidoff initially reported this development six days ago via Twitter and confirms it tonight.
Says the brief subscribers’ only article on Newsday’s website:
The Yankees’ top priority this offseason remains improving their starting rotation. On Saturday, however, they’ll bid farewell to the pitcher who has won the most games since Brian Cashman became a bona fide general manager. Chien-Ming Wang, still rehabilitating after right shoulder surgery, will not be tendered a contract by the Yankees Saturday. He might very well top the list of non-tenders throughout the industry…
Wang’s agent, Alan Nero, has said the righthander could be ready by Opening Day, but Cashman said this past week that he thinks Wang will be back sometime between April and June. The Yankees simply don’t think Wang will be able to contribute in any significant fashion in 2010.”
Wang, who turns 30 in March, was signed by the Yanks as an international free agent in 2000. He made his Major League debut in 2005 and turned in three very strong seasons for the Yanks at a time when the team couldn’t find pitching. In mid-2008, though, disaster struck when Wang suffered a freak Lisfranc injury while running the bases during an Interleague Play game in Houston.
After sitting out the second half of 2008 while rehabbing his foot, the sinker ball specialist attempted a comeback in 2009. He suffered through a bout of horrendous ineffectiveness early on. In his first three appearances of the year, he lasted just 6 innings and allowed 23 earned runs on 23 hits and six walks. After spending a month on the disabled list to build up his lower body strength, he came back in late May and was better. Over his final nine games for the Yanks, he went 1-3 with a 5.50 ERA in 36 innings. Encouraging for Wang were the 27 strike outs, but he left his July 4th start with shoulder pains. A few weeks later, after three different opinions, he opted for labrum surgery, the second major arm procedure of his career.
At this point, the Yankees are moving forward without Wang in their plans. He says that a Bronx return remains his first choice, and as a non-tendered free agent, he could come back to the Yanks on a low base salary with some incentives. The Dodgers, however, will be very keen to bid for his services.
Still, even before his injury, the Yanks were wary of Wang’s long-term ability to get outs. They want to arbitration with him after the 2007 season over a matter of $600,000 and then saw his sinker ball lose its effectiveness during the first half of 2008. Had the Yanks tendered Wang, they would have owed him at least $4 million in 2010, and that was a financial risk the team was simply unwilling to take.
Wang was a shining star on the Yanks when the team had no pitching. He was always calm and collected on the hill, and he was a true superstar in his native Taiwan. If this is the end of the Yanks’ relationship with Wang, I’ll tip my hat to Number 40 and wish him well wherever he lands. A promising career cut short by a freak accident is a sad even to witness indeed.
After the jump, a photo from the Yanks’ rookie hazing efforts in 2005. Hard to believe how far Wang, grinning happily in that photo, and the Yanks have come since then. Read More→
This video is from Taiwan. It shows Chien-Ming Wang, managing at a recent charity, getting on the mound to throw a few warm-up pitches. Wang is just a few months’ removed from surgery and only just begun to throw right-handed. So he takes a few to glove from the left slide before turning the ball back over to his pitcher. He looks like he’s having fun, but Wang is a long way away from the days of being an ace.
For Wang, this week might be the last of his Yankee career. December 12 — next Saturday — is the deadline for teams to decide whether or not to tender their pre-free agent players a contract for 2010, and Ken Davidoff tonight reports that Wang might as well begin shopping his services now. The Yankees, he says, “don’t see Wang as being able to help significantly next year,” and the pitcher would make too much via arbitration to make it worth while.
Davidoff also notes that the Dodgers will be interested once Wang is officially a free agent. In L.A. he would be reunited with Torre, a manager who trusted him with a Game 1 ALDS start as recently as 2007.
It’s amazing to think how quickly Wang declined. Even before his foot injury, he seemed to have lost that touch with his sinker, and since that fateful day in Houston, he has been a non-factor. Maybe he’ll come back to contribute again. I’ll root for him, wherever he might land.
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.
Upon his arrival in Taiwan, Chien-Ming Wang demonstrated exercises for reporters. (Via the AP)
In my mind, Chien-Ming Wang is the late ’00s version of the lost Yankee. Through his first 97 starts in the Big Leagues, he had won 54 of them and had sported an ERA of 3.79. He didn’t strike too many guys out, but he went deep into games and used a devastating sinker to keep opponents from elevating the ball.
And then disaster struck in Houston on June 15, 2008. Wang, already showing signs of inconsistency in 2008, injured his foot in a freak baserunning accident, and has never been the same pitcher. He was flat-out awful in 2009 and eventually underwent another shoulder surgery. Now, the Yanks might simply say good bye to the right-hander by non-tendering him. Wang will be 30 come Opening Day and hasn’t been regularly since 2007. The organization wasn’t fooled by his 54 wins and 3.79 ERAs, and with replacements on hand in the Bronx, the Wang era may be over.
Yesterday, Joe explored how Chien-Ming Wang would be open to the idea of pitching for the Dodgers. Wang, after all, knows Joe Torre quite well from their years together in the Bronx, and the National League makes every good pitcher better. But I thought the story odd. Even though Wang hasn’t yet re-upped for 2010 with the Yanks, he’s still under team control (at least for the next few weeks), and other teams can’t talk to him.
So what did Wang actually say? Well, the remarks were given at a press conference upon his arrival back in Taiwan. Wang is a national celebrity in his home country, and the press hinge on his every word. Although the rumors focused on the Dodgers, Wang’s focus is on the Yanks. “I will try my best to secure a return to Major League Baseball, and my first choice would be the Yankees though it would be okay for me to pitch for any other MLB team,” he said. Once another reporter asked about the Dodgers due to the Joe Torre connection, Wang said he would be open to the idea.
The right-hander will begin throwing on December 1, and the Yankees will be able to judge his process before making a decision on his contract status. Joe wrote here yesterday about an arbitration offer, but I dissent. I think $6 million is too great a commitment to a pitcher who is coming off his second shoulder injury and hasn’t thrown more than 95 innings since 2007. I would welcome Wang back to the Bronx, but if he signs elsewhere, I would be okay with it too. For sinkerballers who lose that touch, the end is rather unpleasant to watch.
The deadline to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players is December 12, just a few weeks away. The Yankees will have decisions to make on a few players, including Melky Cabrera, Brian Bruney, Chad Gaudin, and Sergio Mitre. Chances are the Yankees will offer arbitration to all four, though I still think there’s a chance they’ll non-tender Bruney. The biggest decision they face, though, is on Chien-Ming Wang. The Taiwanese righty might have already thrown his last pitch in pinstripes.
We learn this morning, via MLBTR, that Wang would consider pitching for the Dodgers. Really, he’ll probably consider pitching for all 30 teams, but the Dodgers have a comfort factor. Wang, always described as shy, would have not only two familiar coaches in Joe Torre and Larry Bowa (Don Mattingly, too), but he’d also have former schoolmate Hong-Chih Kuo. In picking his 2010 team, that will probably play a part for Wang.
Just because there’s a connection, of course, doesn’t mean that Wang is ready to don Dodger blue. If the Yankees do non-tender him, and the prevailing opinion in the NYC media is that they will, Wang and his agent Alan Nero will seek the best possible deal. Familiarity might help in that regard, making the Dodgers a strong possibility. And there’s no ruling out Wang re-signing with New York.
I’ve read opinions that the Yankees have mistreated Wang, though I don’t exactly buy that. They didn’t offer him a long-term deal, instead taking him to arbitration over $600,000 in 2008. It was a wise move by the Yankees. Wang, as we know, had two shoulder injuries before 2008, and the Yankees were proceeding with caution. The team and player then acted quickly last off-season, signing a one-year, $5 million deal before Christmas. Wang’s season-ending injury certainly had something to do with that.
It’s hard to see signs of disrespect in that. Not every pitcher gets a long-term deal from his original club. Some teams prefer to take that route, as the Giants did with Matt Cain. Others like to proceed with caution, especially with pitchers who have an injury history. Such has been the Yankees’ dealing with Wang. Now they’ll have another set of negotiations with Wang, presumably over a lesser contract that will bring him back for 2010.
Most of us, I think, would like to see Chien-Ming Wang back in pinstripes next season. We’ve seen him at his best, and if he can return to that level, or something near it, he can fortify the Yankees’ rotation mid-season. The Yankees have many factors to weigh in this decision, including the cost of keeping Wang around, weighed against the risk that he’ll fail. It’s doubtful Wang makes more than $6 million next season in arbitration, and my guess is that if the Yankees do tender him a contract that they’ll work out a one-year deal before the February arbitration hearings.
I think the Yankees have little to lose by offering Wang arbitration. That ensures that if he does return to form, it will be to the Yankees’ benefit. It’s essentially a $6 million bet on his health, though, and without his medicals in hand it’s impossible to make that decision. The Yankees have seen them, or else will see them. I trust they’ll make the right call.
The MLB Players Association yesterday released its list of the 210 players eligible for arbitration. Maury Brown has the full list right here, and five members of the 2009 Yankees find themselves under team control and arbitration-eligible.
Before exploring these players, a few notes on procedures: Salary arbitration is available for players who have not yet reached free agency and players who are free agents. A player with more than three years but fewer than six — with some exceptions for what is known as Super Twos — can file for arbitration. Conversely,the player’s former team can decide to non-tender those players at which point the player becomes an unrestricted free agent.
For current free agents not constrained by service time, clubs can offer salary arbitration to former players by Dec. 1. That move allows the team to recoup draft picks if the player goes elsewhere, but the team runs the risk of an unwanted or overpaid player accepting arbitration and sticking around. The arbitration discussed here is limited by service time and not contractual free agency. And so onto the Yankees.
Chien-Ming Wang — Service Time: 4.159 years; 2009 Salary: $5 million
The Yankees and their former ace have a tenuous relationship when it comes to salary disputes. In 2008, Wang lost in arbitration, and the Yankees made a big deal about saving $600,000 in the process. Last year, the two parties settled for $5 million in late December, but it’s clear that the Yankees are skeptical of Wang’s ability and future success. Considering the nature of his surgery and his recent ineffectiveness, they might have a reason for that skepticism.
Early on this off-season, the conversation has centered around Wang’s contract status, and rumors suggest that the Yankees will non-tender him. They could then try to sign him to an incentive-laden deal with a low base salary. Whether this will placate the sinker-ball specialist is up for debate. Some feel the two-time 19-game winner could test the open market; others say that his marketability in Taiwan is dependent upon the pinstripes.
Prediction: The Yanks will non-tender Wang but resign him to an incentive-based deal more favorable to the team.
Brian Bruney — Service Time: 4.164 years; 2009 Salary: $1.25 million
Last year, the Yanks and Bruney avoided arbitration after exchanging salary figures. Bruney wanted $1.55 million; the Yanks countered with $1.1 million; and the two sides nearly split the difference. Bruney had a worse year in 2009 than he did in 2008. He suffered through some early-season elbow problems and saw his walk rate increase while his strike out rate decreased. His ERA jumped over 2.10 runs, but the Yankees want to bring him back.
Prediction: A one-year deal worth approximately $1.7-$2 million.
Melky Cabrera — Service Time: 3.148 years; 2009 Salary: $1.4 million + $25,000 for reaching 525 plate appearances
Unless something drastic happens — Curtis Granderson, Mike Cameron or that long-rumored Melky and Ian Kennedy for [Insert Player Here] trade — Melky will again battle it out with Brett Gardner for the center field job. After putting up bad numbers in 2008, Melky rebounded with a nice 2009 campaign. I would expect the Yanks will settle with Melky but not offer him a long-term deal.
Prediction: One year, $2.5 million
Chad Gaudin — Service Time: 4.163 years; 2009 Salary: $2 million
A mid-season acquisition, Gaudin showed some good stuff while pitching for the Yanks. He’ll be 27 by Opening Day and will be a swing man for the Yanks next year. I doubt the two sides will head to arbitration here, and Gaudin should receive a bump from his $2 million salary.
Prediction: One year, $3-$4 million
Sergio Mitre — Service Time: 4.132 years; 2009 Salary: $1.25 million
Mention “Sergio Mitre” to a Yankee fan and you may find that fan fighting back the urge to scream. Just a year removed from Tommy John Surgery, Mitre was awful for the Yanks. He managed to win three games but sported a 6.79 ERA. Opponents hit .320/.361/.509 off of him. The Yankees hold a $1.25 million option for 2010, and although Mark Feinsand doesn’t expect them to pick it up, I do. For that low price, the Yanks can bolster their depth.
Prediction: One year, $1.25 million
The Yankees have the resources to take on a greater amount of risk than most teams. A misplaced $5 million might seriously hamper a smaller market team, but the Yankees — and the Red Sox, as evidenced by Brad Penny and John Smoltz — can take on a reclamation project and hope for the best. They did this in 2003, signing Jon Lieber after he underwent Tommy John surgery in 2002. They rehabbed him on their dime, and it paid off when he came back strong in 2004. So when it comes to Chien-Ming Wang‘s contract situation, there are no givens. The Yankees can afford to do what they think will most benefit the team.
As Mike wrote this morning, Wang is no stranger to shoulder injuries. “The bottom line is that for the third time in eight years, the righthander missed a significant portion of the season with a shoulder issue.” This has to make the team wary. Wang will be arbitration eligible for the third time this winter, having made $4.5 million in 2009. If the Yankees tender him a contract, he’ll make at least that, and because of his service time he could get a bump to $5 million. Let’s go with that latter number, just to make things easy.
The question facing the Yankees is whether that $5 million is worth it to keep Wang around. It’s not just his salary for the 2010 season, when he’ll pitch half a season at the most, but also the price for keeping him under team control for his final arbitration-eligible season in 2011. There are alternatives; the Yankees could decline to tender Wang a contract and then sign him at a lower price. They would then be able to offer him arbitration after the 2010 season for the final time. For the sake of this argument, let’s assume that if the Yankees non-tender Wang, he’ll take his services elsewhere. Tendering him means paying $5 million for 2010.
This is the Yankees, so $5 million might not seem like a lot. There’s risk involved, yes, and chances are that the Yankees would have to pay more than $5 million for one of the other risky starters out there. Those would include Ben Sheets, Erik Bedard, and Rich Harden, and they would presumably be able to pitch the whole season, whereas Wang won’t be ready until July. Still, all three of those pitchers present a large risk. Wang will be cheaper, and the Yankees know him better than the other three. It seems that if they’re going the risky starter route, Wang’s their man.
Here’s a question I’ve been pondering regarding Wang’s status. Commenter Taz got it brewing in my mind when he asked, “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?” He says he’d rather put that money towards keeping Wang and replace Mitre with said scrub. Mitre’s $1.25 million is just a quarter of Wang’s projected salary, but every little bit helps, right?
First, to the issue of Mitre being a scrub. No one could be impressed with what they saw from Mitre during his tenure in pinstripes. He had one stellar start against the White Sox, but other than that he was shaky at best and downright terrible at worst. His defense failed him at times, but he could never pick up for them. It seemed like he was always making a bad situation worse. That infuriates fans, so it’s no wonder why Mitre has few supporters. Still, there is hope that he can provide value for the Yankees in 2010.
Mitre underwent Tommy John surgery in July of 2008. A year and six days after the surgery, he made his return. That’s a short span for a Tommy John patient. The normal recovery time is 12 to 18 months, and there are many stories of players who didn’t come back quite as strong at first, but who later recovered. Yet even if he does recover, I’ve heard the argument go, Mitre is just a scrub anyway. That I do not believe is totally accurate. In 2007, Mitre’s last season before the surgery, he had a 3.98 FIP, 4.34 tRA, and posted a 2.6 WAR. That’s pretty damn quality for a guy slotted to be the fifth starter at absolute best.
Like Mitre, no one was impressed with Wang this season. He started off pitching about as poorly as one could imagine, then hit the DL, then came back and was mediocre at best before succumbing to a shoulder injury. This led to a 5.38 FIP and a 6.01 tRA. Those numbers are both slightly worse than what Mitre posted in 2009. Both clearly had bad years, but because of what we’ve seen in the past, there’s a chance they’ll recover.
We know that Wang is a better pitcher than Mitre when they’re both right. We also know that Mitre can pitch the entire 2010 season, while Wang will pitch half at most. So, to begin answering Taz’s question, you might not want to cut loose Mitre and save his $1.25 million, because that investment can work for you all year, while the $5 million allotted to Wang will work only in the second half, if even that. But let’s take this a little further, into the completely theoretical.
Past performance does not guarantee future gains, but sometimes all we have to go on is past performance. For the sake of this argument, let’s assume that both Mitre and Wang return to their 2007 forms in 2010. Mitre would, under those circumstances, provide a 2.6 WAR for $1.25 million. Wang had a 4.4 WAR in 2007, almost two full wins better than Mitre. But because Wang would only pitch half the season, he’d only provided 2.2 WAR in 2010 under what I’m calling the best case scenario. The Yankees would pay him $5 million for that 2.2 WAR.
Even if both players recover fully to their 2007 forms, Mitre would provide a little more value than Wang. He’s the inferior pitcher, but because he can pitch the entire season he has that added value. Wang would be a greater force in the second half, but again he’d only be doing it for half a season, and he’d make four times as much as Mitre in the process. So there is an argument, albeit a weak one, that the Yankees are better off with Mitre in 2010.
Do I think that Mitre will provide 2.6 WAR in 2010? Not a chance. Not only will he not get the innings, but he also likely won’t return to the 0.54 HR/9 rate that led to his 3.98 FIP (a component of WAR). While WAR does adjust for park, I’m just not sure the adjustment will do Mitre’s transition justice. In 2007 he pitched in a spacious National League park. In 2010 he’ll pitch in a homer-heavy (but otherwise run-neutral) AL East park. He also probably won’t be higher than seventh on the starting pitching depth chart, so I would assume most of his innings will come out of the bullpen. I’d be surprised if he cleared a 1.5 WAR next year.
Do I think that Wang will provide 2.2 WAR in 2010? Probably not. I think he has a better chance of doing that than Mitre does of posting the same number, but that’s asking a lot from a guy who has missed a good portion of the past two seasons, and who is recovering from his third major shoulder injury. If he can provide 1.5 WAR in the second half, I’m sure the Yankees would be thrilled. That would not only help the rotation later in the season, but it would also give them hope of a fuller recovery for 2011.
Unless the Yankees are hard-up for 40-man roster spots (and as Mike will show, they’re not), they should exercise Mitre’s 2010 option. It will represent a little over one half of one percent of their overall payroll. The tougher question is of Wang. If tendered he’ll eat up a 40-man slot until they can place him on the 60-day DL in March, and he’ll constitute about 2.5 percent of the overall payroll. Is that worth the risk? I’m still not decided, though I’m leaning towards yes. I fear that non-tendering him means he goes elsewhere, and I do not want to see him make a full recovery with another team. Wang was the anchor of the staff for two seasons when the Yanks lacked an ace. WIth the current staff, he only has to be a No. 3. I think he can fit into the Yankees plans for 2010 and beyond.