In the game of baseball, the regular season is both long and strenuous. Playing 162 games with limited days off can and will take a toll on a player’s body. More often than not, players go down with injuries at some point in the season. This forces a team to give an injured player’s spot to another person, thus making depth an invaluable concept to any team.
Heading into last season, pitching depth was considered to be one of the Yankees’ most valuable traits. They had many pitchers competing for a few spots on the team. Ultimately, that pitching depth dwindled due to injury, and the Yankees had to receive starts from Adam Warren, David Phelps, and Freddy Garcia. Using last season as an example, it makes perfect sense for the Yankees to bring back their old friend, Chien-Ming Wang.
Wang – who used to be the ace of the Yankees’ pitching staff – compiled two straight 19-win seasons from 2006 to 2007, and was on the fast track to becoming one of the best pitchers in the game of baseball. However during an interleague game in 2008, Wang fractured his ankle while running the bases. Not only would this bring controversy, it would bring Wang’s career to a screeching halt. When Wang did make his return in 2009, he just wasn’t the same pitcher that the Yankees had come to know and trust. The Yankees would release Wang, and he would go on to sign with the Washington Nationals. He would be used as both a starter and a reliever for the team. After last season, the Nationals let go of Wang, and he remains unsigned to this day.
With Washington, Wang was able to accumulate a 6-6 record alongside a 4.94 ERA over the course of three seasons.
It has been reported recently that the Yankees have been “keeping tabs” on the 32-year-old right hander, looking at him as a possible option for the team. Wang reportedly pitched in a private session for the Yankees and put on an impressive performance. The team will send scouts to watch him as he pitches for Taiwan in the upcoming World Baseball Classic.
If the Yankees do opt to sign Wang, it is unlikely that he will make the team right out of Spring Training. He would need to prove himself while pitching in Triple-A, and would be little more than depth for the team. Again, with depth being so important to any team, the Yankees need to make sure that this deal gets done. The interest is there, so why not? Bringing him back would be the type of low-risk, high-reward signing that Brian Cashman seems to have tremendous success with. If the Yankees don’t have room for him to be a starter, then he can certainly be a reliever like he was when he played with Washington.
There is no harm in signing him to a relatively low, incentive-based contract. If he can show some flashes of the brilliance that he once had, then the Yankees should jump on this opportunity before another team does.