Sunday, December 13, 2009

Yanks Do Not Treat Wang Tenderly

Good morning Fackers. As we, and most everyone else predicted Friday, the Yankees yesterday tendered contracts to arbitration eligible players Chad Gaudin, Sergio Mitre, and Melky Cabrera, but not Chien-Ming Wang.

Wang, who made $5M last year, would have been guaranteed a minimum of $4M in arbitration. Wang missed the majority of both of the last two seasons. A freak lis-franc injury suffered while running the bases in interleague play ended his 2008 season on June 15th. After a rehab that the Yankees arguably botched, Wang returned in 2009 with three historically bad starts, culminating with a disastrous 1.1 IP, 8 ER outing against the Indians in the third game at the new Yankee Stadium, a game the Yankees eventually lost 24-4.

Following that outing, the Yankees placed Wang on the DL with a questionable "weakness in his abductor muscles" injury, allowing him to rehab in the minor leagues. But rather than allowing Wang the entirety of his 30 day rehab assignment to right his ship, the Yankees hastily activated him after just two starts, panicking after Joba Chamberlain exited a start after being hit with a line drive. Relegated to a mop up role, Wang wallowed in limbo, making three relief appearances over a ten day stretch. He was then returned to the rotation, making six starts that were mediocre at best. He exited his July 4th start against the Blue Jays, suffering from shoulder pain. Surgery at the end of July, the second shoulder operation of his professional career, officially ended his season, and likely his Yankee career.

The Yankees will likely make a token attempt to re-sign Wang to a team friendly, incentive laced deal, but I'm not holding my breath waiting for it to happen. Chances are he can find a better deal, or at least a better chance to pitch, elsewhere. There may also be some lingering hard feelings from Wang towards the organization following past contract negotiations and how his injury situation was handled. According to a Friday afternoon tweet from Brian Hoch, Wang's agent, Alan Nero, said Wang will look to move on if non-tendered. If this is the end of Wang's Yankee career, it will go down as one of the sadder chapters in recent Yankee history.

As for the rest of the Yankees' arbitration eligible players, Mitre and Gaudin and will provide added depth to the Yankee pitching staff, which will be thinner without Wang. Both will be in the mix for the back of the rotation/long man roles, and both - particularly Gaudin - may be of use in other relief roles. Meanwhile, Melky remains in the mix for the outfield, if not as a potential left fielder than in competition with Brett Gardner and recently acquired Jamie Hoffmann for back up roles.

The arbitration decisions leave the Yankees 40 man roster at 37. We'll take a look at some of the other non-tendered players during the week.

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