Now that the off season has officially begun for the Yanks, I’m going to switch from my ‘Random Thoughts’ posts about the games and various news items to specific pieces on players and payroll issues the Yanks will have to address this off season. Each one deserves its own post examining the thought process behind the decision as I see it.
First up is Chien Ming Wang. Making a decision on him will be one of the Yanks toughest calls this off season. We all know his track record of being a back to back 19 game winner and his propensity to eat up innings and pitch deep into games with a low pitch count. When he’s right, he saves your bullpen from being overworked every 5th day and is an extreme ground ball pitcher who gives up very few Home Runs. Given the improved Yankee infield defense with the addition of Mark Teixeira and Derek Jeter’s resurgence as a Shortstop, we can only imagine what kind of season Wang might have had if he stayed healthy this year. Going into the 2008 season, I thought he was a lock to log his first 20+ win campaign. Fans may remember that his last 19 win season in 2007 was one which he missed most of April with a hamstring pull, so 20 wins seemed conservative if he stayed healthy. But we all know what happened in 08, he suffered a foot injury running the bases in Houston and followed that up in 2009 with his 3rd shoulder injury in his time with the Yanks.
Shoulders are always the trickiest, unlike elbow injuries which can be repaired shoulder injuries can either end a career or leave a pitcher a shell of his former self. Yankee fans just watched their team wrap up a World Series title facing a once great pitcher whose career started heading downward at a relatively young age with a torn labrum. Pedro’s brother Ramon had a promising pitching career ended by a shoulder injury as well. Wang’s injury doesn’t appear to be major, he was diagnosed with a damaged capsule, which is considered less serious than a torn labrum or rotator cuff tear. But even when he was healthy last year, he pitched terribly. He clearly lost his delivery as a result of last year’s Lisfranc foot injury, and his confidence sagged along with the results. Adding recovery from another injury only muddies the waters even further. It’s anyone’s guess if he’ll ever regain the form he had 2005-2008.
Fans aren’t going to want to hear this, because we all want things resolved and tied up nice and neatly. But the Yankees probably will take a ‘wait and see’ approach with our former Ace. I think Wang’s contract situation won’t be resolved until he starts throwing again, which as Joe Pawlikowski from River Ave detailed will be next spring. He’s still in rehab mode right now, and checking in with Dr James Andrews to get updates on his progress. They’ll want to see what he looks like on a mound before investing any money in him. And if they approach him that way, it’s the smart move.
After they look at him, he likely will still only get an incentive-laden offer from the Yanks. But since the Yanks are a lock to non-tender him this off season, many other teams will be monitoring his progress and he will be bidding on him as well. How much the Yanks will be willing to guarantee will be key to how this plays out, and will depend on how he looks in the spring. From Wang’s side how much money is guaranteed will heavily influence where he lands, but changing teams will factor in as well. He’s got enough on his plate already coming back from what amounts to two injuries. Changing teams would only add to his adjustment period. So the Yanks will have certainly an inside track on him. From the perspective of rival teams, if the Yanks were to pass on him completely it would send up a red flag on Wang’s health. GMs are often hesitant to offer contracts to injured pitchers when their original team wont bid on him, especially one that throws around money like the Yanks do. Nobody knows a pitcher’s health history better than the team that developed him, and if they’re willing to pass there’s a sense of Caveat Emptor on the part of other GMs.
One very important note about Wang, he may be more valuable to the Yanks than anyone else. When he’s right, he’s an extreme ground ball pitcher who gives up very few Home Runs. The new Yankee Stadium yielded a franchise record in HRs this year. He could be an even better fit if there’s an early injury to one of the starters and/or we never get the 8th inning situation settled, which is an open question going into next year. I assume Joba and Hughes will be our #4 and #5 starters next year, so the primary set up role that Hughes performed so well last year is still unsettled. Should one of them struggle as starters next and the bridge to Mariano becomes shaky, there will be a pull to move one of them back to the setup role and an open spot in the rotation as a result. The timing of this all works out pretty well for the Yanks and Wang. He won’t be ready to go until mid-season next year, and by that time we’ll have a good idea of where the Yanks stand in both their rotation and bullpen. All totaled, the Wang situation doesn’t appear to be one that will be settled anytime soon.
LIKE TYA ON FACEBOOK
- TYA To Merge With It’s About The Money, Stupid
- What about Kevin Youkilis?
- Teix Now Front And Center On The “Needs To Produce” Radar
- Cashman: Heathcott A Dark Horse Candidate
- A Dog Chasing Cars
- Outfield Trade Targets
- The Problem With Brett Gardner
- A Look At Relief Prospect Branden Pinder
- The Yankees Should Be Realistic, Put Team on Short Leash in 2013
- Briefly discussing the internal options to replace Curtis Granderson
- Louis Vuitton Outlet Sale Singapore on The Monthly Prospector: April Edition
- Authentic Louis Vuitton Outlet Store on The Monthly Prospector: June Edition
- Louis Vuitton Outlet San Diego on Banuelos to Undergo Tommy John Surgery, Yankees Prospectors to Undergo Grief Counseling
- related web site on The Great Subway Race
- get your lover back on Contact Us
- Dorothy Silvan on Pineda’s Torn Labrum, or Does the lemon law apply to baseball?
- tao of badass on Open Thread | Game 3 | Detroit Tigers vs. New York Yankees | Sunday, April 3, 2011
- tube launch review on Why Has Attendance Fallen Year-To-Year?
- Evon Znidarsic on Teixeira MRI Update, Babe Ruth Pitching In Pinstripes, And Jeter’s Gift Baskets
- Sacramento PC Repair on Yanks finally sign non-Yankee free agent in Russell Martin
TagsA.J. Burnett Alex Rodriguez Andy Pettitte Austin Romine Baltimore Orioles Bartolo Colon Boston Red Sox Brett Gardner Brian Cashman Bullpen CC Sabathia Chien-Ming Wang Cliff Lee Curtis Granderson David Robertson Dellin Betances Derek Jeter Francisco Cervelli Freddy Garcia Game Recap Hiroki Kuroda Ivan Nova Javier Vazquez Jesus Montero Joba Chamberlain Joe Girardi Johnny Damon Jorge Posada Manny Banuelos Mariano Rivera Mark Teixeira Melky Cabrera Michael Pineda New York New York Yankees Nick Johnson Nick Swisher Phil Hughes Prospects Rafael Soriano Red Sox Robinson Cano Russell Martin Tampa Bay Rays Yankees