Why A Wang Return Would Be Helpful


The biggest non-Jeter’s ankle story of yesterday was the return of Chien-Ming Wang to the Yankees.  It wasn’t as an official team member, as Wang is still searching for a job offer after a brutal 2012 with the Nationals, but he was there to pitch for team scouts and coaches and hopefully do enough to get himself a contract offer.  The Yankees were connected to Wang recently and scouted him at the WBC, where he was reportedly throwing his sinker high 80s-low 90s and didn’t allow a run in 12 IP.  After the dreaded baserunning foot injury of ’08 and the awful follow-up performance in ’09, a return to the Yankee organization would be a nice little deal for Wang.

It also wouldn’t be bad for the Yankees, who are always in the market for pitching depth.  While Wang is certainly not a contender for a Major League rotation spot at this point in his career, or even a 40-man roster spot for that matter, he does represent the type of veteran arm the Yankees have liked to keep stashed in their Triple-A rotation for the last few years.  They find themselves without that arm right now and adding Wang to the mix could be the final piece needed to solidify the top levels of their organizational rotation depth.

The Yanks are set at the Major League level, and in Adam Warren and Brett Marshall they’ve got a couple of young Triple-A arms capable of stepping in and making a spot start here or there as needed.  The rest of the Triple-A rotation isn’t so solid, with Dellin Betances getting another shot (probably his last) to prove himself as a starter, Shaeffer Hall being nothing more than a warm body, and Vidal Nuno possibly sneaking his way into the Major League bullpen.  In Double-A the mix is equally varied, with depth guys like Caleb Cotham and Mikey O’Brien and legit prospects like Jose Ramirez and Nik Turley who are new to the level of competition.

There’s a fair amount of injury risk in the Major League rotation, and if a worst-case scenario plays out where multiple guys go down, it could turn into a Chinese fire drill to try and fill holes.  The Yankees can’t afford another Chase Wright/Matt DeSalvo/Darrell Rasner situation with their weakened lineup this season, and they don’t need to be shuttling guys like Turley and Ramirez up a level or two and getting them out of their development routines before they’re ready.  Wang’s presence in the Triple-A rotation would be a stabilizing force to cover for that worst-case scenario, an extra arm who can stay put in Triple-A and lessen the need to call overmatched guys up or an arm who can be used for a few emergency Major League starts if it came to that.

This type of worst-case scenario I’m describing would probably be a death sentence to the Yankees’ 2013 postseason chances, and that’s not a fun scenario to think about.  It still never hurts to be prepared, though, and the Yankees have been good about having veteran pitching depth on standby for just such a scenario.  Wang wouldn’t give them much if he did have to pitch in the Majors, but if they’re going to get below replacement-level performance from a MiL fill-in pitcher, I’d rather it be from a disposable source like Wang than from a real prospect whose been thrown out of his comfort zone and right into the fire.  Ask Chase Wright how that worked out for him.

There wasn’t much information on the results of Wang’s session yesterday, and as of right now no signing has been announced.  If that announcement does come today, I think it will be a good move for both the Yankees and Wang.

(Photo courtesy of Getty Images)

About Brad Vietrogoski

Born in Dover, Delaware and raised in Danbury, Connecticut, Brad now resides in Wisconsin, where he regularly goes out of his way to remind Brewers fans that their team will never be as good as the Yankees. When he’s not writing for IIATMS, he likes to spend his time incorporating “Seinfeld” quotes into everyday conversation, critiquing WWE storylines, and drinking enough beer to be good at darts.

25 thoughts on “Why A Wang Return Would Be Helpful

  1. OR,assume for a minute he signs a minor league contract for a year,stays healthy and pitches near to form.Next year he steps in to replace either Pettite or Kuroda,assuming at least one will leave for either retirement or Japan? Next years starters: CC/Pineda/Wang/Nova/Phelps or Hughes?

    • Doesn't make sense – if he is on a 1 year deal why would he necessarily hang around for a year to fill a future slot?

      I assume that a minor league deal will include an opt out clause, as is quite common for Yankees minor leaguers. If he doesn't get called up by something like July 1st he can opt out of the deal. So if he is pitching well, but there is no opening for him at the MLB level, he can leave to sign elsewhere.

  2. a wang return would be helpful just for all the great headlines. i miss seeing things like "Sox can't Handle Yanks Wang"

  3. A minor league deal is a no-brainer if he still has some stuff (which, based upon the WBC he may). There is almost no risk (none to fans, its just money to Hal) with huge reward. It is not like the AAA level has 5 guys jockeying for time in NY. Wang would not be eating a slot for MLB ready guy. If he stinks it up he gets released. Maybe he finds the magic again.

  4. I always liked the guy. If he has ANYTHING – sign him to a ML deal. I'd so much rather see him than the revolving door of outfield rejects we've had this spring.

  5. I doubt Wang would be interested in a deal with the Yankees that is going to allow them to stash him in the minors leagues. As for signing him to a major league I'd much prefer the Yankees give someone like Nuno a shot to break camp with them. He's pitched exceedingly well and deserves his shot.

    • Wang may not be interested in a MiL deal, but he's also not in much of a position to hold out for a guaranteed Major League one. He's been injured a/o horrible for the last 4 years.

      • True, but he probably has a much better chance of hooking up with another team with a better shot at a major league gig. But my other comment on my previous post remains my feeling that I'd much prefer the Yankees give someone like Nuno a shot to break camp with them. He's pitched exceedingly well and deserves his shot.

        • If I were a betting man, I'd put money down on Nuno making the Opening Day roster as a lefty reliever. He's so versatile and has pitched really well. He could almost be used as a left-handed David Phelps, which the Yankees might need the first time through the rotation if Phelps has to make a spot start for Hughes.

  6. You use a racist phrase like "Chinese fire drill," which is bad enough, and put it in a post about a Taiwanese player? That's doubly awful, and you need to do and be better than that.

    • I'm usually the first one to point out stuff like that, Prof., but really, is that racist? I honestly don't know the reference as a point of degradation to our Chinese neighbors. Maybe I'm just a lunkhead. To me, I've always understood it as a term that describes everyone exiting a car at a light, running around it and getting back in before the light changes. Maybe there's something insidious about the "Chinese" reference, but I am unaware of the origin. But then again, that term describes pretty clearly what Brad was describing, in a pitching sense.

      All that said, I think the inclusion in here, about Wang (in a Chinese Taipei uniform), is simply a coincidence. I didn't write it, but I'm more than inclined to give Brad the benefit of the doubt here.

      • So not wanting to remain completely ignorant, I did some quick research (thank you google, wikipedia and others) and I guess adding the word "Chinese" before certain things was done to imply that there's some inherent confusion or lack of order. Borne of ignorance, I guess.

        This phrasing also came to mean anything done in a confused or disorganized way. The origins of this are thought to be from the stark contrast between British and Chinese cultures where the British viewed many things the Chinese did as confusing and hard to understand from their cultural perspective. Thus, around the time of World War I, any fire drill that was done in a disorganized or confused manner was called a “Chinese Fire Drill” by British soldiers. Read more at http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2011/12/o

        So now I/we know.

        • Or would you say Brad was stupid…because he's Polish.

          But I assume you're not Chinese nor Polish, so you are umempathetic toward people of different race or ethnicity than yourself.

      • You hit the nail on the head. It's the use of the "Chinese" as to indicate some level of confusion.

    • Yes it is a racist, if not, ethnic slur…considering that Brad is Polish, he should definitely know better.
      That's like saying Brad is stupid just because he's Polish.

    • No, but you should know better…would you make a racist remark about an African-American eating watermelon or fried chicken ?…of course not…at least I would hope you smart enough not to.

  7. Just let me add this to all of that. 'Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus". I just thought I would try and inject a little humor in this blog. This is just my opinion but I have been around a long time and I just think we have become a society that has had "political correctness" drummed into our brains where now people see what I think in many cases meant to be harmless comments as some sort of devilish undertone. I hope no one takes this comment the wrong way.

    • I accept that the writer used the phrase in a way meant to be harmless — I don't think he's anti-Chinese or desirous of stirring up animus against Asians or anyone. But effect is different from intention. Certainly intention counts — it's the difference between murder and manslaughter — but effect is important, too (whether by murder or manslaughter, the victim is just as dead). The effect of unthinking use of language that originates from a negative racial, religious or ethnic stereotype is nonetheless to perpetuate that stereotype, and if we are opposed to such stereotyping, it is important to call out the use of such language and to be aware of its implications. That's not some parody of "political correctness"; it's being thoughtful, aware and respectful (and I hope you find this response to be respectful to and of you). I'd much rather live in a world without "Chinese fire drills," where a buyer doesn't "Jew-down the price," or someone who is cheated "gets Gypped." These are ugly phrases carried over from a time of ugly discrimination, and they should be relegated to the dungheap of history.

      • All fair points, Prof, and apologies if the use of the phrase offended you. That definitely wasn't my intention.

        Now that I look at it again, the inclusion of "Chinese" in a post about CMW was probably not the best choice of words, but it was meant as a harmless comment. I would have used the same phrase if I was writing about Jeff Suppan.

        I'm the first to admit that I'm not the most PC guy on the block, but I'm certainly not trying to use my spot here on a baseball blog to stir up any sinister racial thoughts or feelings. Honest mistake on my part. My bad, y'all.

  8. For what it's worth this just recently appeared on MLBTR:
    Chien-Ming Wang Likely To Sign With Yankees
    By Ben Nicholson-Smith [March 21 at 7:32pm CST]
    THURSDAY: The Yankees have invited Wang to "work out for their scouts in Tampa in search of a minor league deal," and "people within the organization said they believe Wang's signing is likely," writes Dan Martin of the New York Post….