Chien-Ming Wang Rumors
Before Jake Peavy was traded to the White Sox in July 2009, he almost arrived in Chicago a few months earlier as a member of the Cubs. Peavy was the centerpiece of a proposed trade between the Cubs and Padres (and possibly also the Orioles and Braves) during the 2008-09 offseason, and as Peavy tells CSN Chicago's Chuck Garfien, the deal seemed to be virtually finalized before either then-Cubs owner Sam Zell or then-Padres CEO Sandy Alderson pulled the plug on the blockbuster.
Here are some more items from around baseball...
- Chien-Ming Wang can opt out of his minor league deal with the Yankees on Friday, and the Orioles are one of several teams scouting the right-hander, Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports. The Orioles' interest appears to be only of the due-diligence variety, as Connolly says the team doesn't "appear to be too interested," plus Wang won't exercise his opt-out clause unless he sees a clear opportunity at a Major League starting job with another team.
- The Padres should extend their entire starting infield, Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune opines. I'm not sure if Yonder Alonso, Everth Cabrera or Jedd Gyorko had proven themselves as deserving as Chase Headley of a multiyear commitment, nor are the Padres in any real need to lock the three younger players up. Cabrera is already controlled through 2016, Alonso through 2017 and Gyorko through at least 2018 and perhaps longer if he attains Super Two status.
- Before the Giants' win over the Athletics today, Giants manager Bruce Bochy told reporters (including John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle) that the club wasn't planning any significant changes in light of its recent slump. The Giants' victory today was just their sixth in their last 16 games, and the World Series champions are 29-25 on the season.
- John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press discusses a number of Tigers topics during a live chat with readers, including whether the Tigers might yet make moves to upgrade their bullpen or catching or if the club will extend Jhonny Peralta's contract.
- In another live chat, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News feels that the outfield is a long-term issue for the Rangers (David Murphy and Nelson Cruz are free agents after this season) and the team could address this problem by using Jurickson Profar to acquire Giancarlo Stanton. Grant also thinks the Rangers could attempt to acquire Cliff Lee this summer, though it will depend on how Martin Perez and Colby Lewis perform after they return from the DL.
The Yankees and Mets currently stand on opposite ends of the spectrum, with the Yankees nine games above .500 and the Mets at nine games below. The Bombers have dropped three in a row, however, and the Mets have won three straight. Game two of their Subway Series will get underway later tonight, but here's some news on both teams to tide New York fans over until then...
- Yankees GM Brian Cashman told Andy Martino of the New York Daily News that he will continue to pursue stopgap options at shortstop rather than look to trade for an established player at the position.
- Within that same piece, Martino notes that there's been talk of sending Ruben Tejada down for Omar Quintanilla, but Quintanilla isn't on the 40-man roster. Plus, if the Mets call Quintanilla up, he would need to clear waivers in order to be sent back to the minors. If he were claimed by another team, the organization would be thin on shortstop depth.
- With Mark Teixeira and Kevin Youkilis on rehab assignments, the Yankees face a decision on Lyle Overbay, writes Dan Martin of the New York Post. Overbay seems headed for a reduced role or a new team, but he voiced his preference to remain with the Yankees rather than play elsewhere, even if it means less at-bats: “Do I want to play every day and be miserable?” Overbay said. “That opportunity might not be as good as it is here. I think it will work itself out.”
- Ike Davis will not be optioned to the Minor Leagues today, reports the Post's Mark Hale. There's been plenty of speculation that some time at Triple-A is coming for Davis, who went 0-for-3 with a pair of strikeouts and batted eighth last night for the Mets. He's currently in a 4-for-53 slump and batting just .152/.237/.247.
- Chien-Ming Wang can opt out of his contract on Friday, but he won't do so unless he has a Major League offer from another club, writes the Post's Joel Sherman. A Mets official told Sherman that they wouldn't be interested in Wang as a replacement for Jeremy Hefner or Dillon Gee. Sherman writes that the sense is that Wang's stuff is nowhere near as good as it was from 2006-07 with the Yankees.
- Also from Sherman's piece, a panel of eight Post writers and seven New York executives were asked to rank the Top 10 rookies from last year's class, and Matt Harvey ranked fifth behind Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, Manny Machado and Yu Darvish (in that order).
When players with significant Major League experience settle for minor league contracts, it's commonplace for these deals to contain opt-out clauses. If the player hasn't been added to the 25-man roster by a certain point, he can exercise the clause and seek employment with another organization. Such clauses aren't always made publicly available, but here's a list of some of the pitchers who have known opt-out dates that are nearing...
- Chien-Ming Wang, Yankees: Wang can opt out of his contract on May 31. In five starts spanning 31 2/3 innings at Triple-A thus far, the 33-year-old has a 2.84 ERA, 4.3 K/9 and 1.1 BB/9. The Yankees have said they don't feel Wang's minor league success will translate to the Majors just yet, as they want him to rely more on his breaking pitches than just his sinker.
- Tim Stauffer, Padres: Stauffer can opt out of his deal "around June 1," according to Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune. He appeared in just one game for San Diego before needing season-ending surgery but posted a 3.24 ERA in 341 1/3 innings for the Friars from 2009-11. So far in Triple-A, the 30-year-old has a 3.16 ERA, 8.0 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9 in 42 2/3 innings.
- Sean O'Sullivan, Padres: Currently Stauffer's rotation-mate, O'Sullivan has the same opt-out clause in his contract (near June 1) despite being just 25 years of age. O'Sullivan has a 4.19 ERA, 8.2 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9 in 43 innings for Triple-A Tucson. He's had a rough time in the Majors, however, as evidenced by his 6.13 ERA in 193 2/3 big league innings.
- Jeremy Bonderman, Mariners: Bonderman's opt-out date is June 1, tweets ESPN's Buster Olney. Still just 30 years of age, Bonderman has been solid for Triple-A Tacoma. He's pitched to a 3.70 ERA, 5.4 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 in eight starts spanning 48 2/3 innings. Olney feels Bonderman will opt out if he's not called up in the next couple of weeks, and I'm inclined to agree.
- Jair Jurrjens, Orioles: Jurrjens has an opt-out date of June 15. After a drastic fall from grace in the Braves organization, the 27-year-old has looked sharp at Triple-A Norfolk in 2013. He's compiled a 2.62 ERA, 5.8 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 in seven starts spanning 44 2/3 innings.
All of the pitchers listed here have pitched well enough that they could make a case for helping a Major League team with a struggling rotation. It seems likely that by mid-June, each could force his way onto a Major League roster, even if it's with a new organization. If you see a notable omission with a known opt-out date, speak up in the comments section.
Yankees right-hander Chien-Ming Wang has agreed to remain with the Yankees organization rather than exercise the first opt-out clause in his minor league contract, according to a report from Focus Taiwan (via Mike Axisa of River Ave. Blues).
Wang, 33, has allowed just two earned runs through his first 19 innings at Triple-A (three starts). He's fanned seven and walked three during his time with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. According to the Focus Taiwan report, Wang's contract contains four more opt out clauses: May 31, June 30, Aug. 10 and Aug. 31.
Wang inked a minor league deal following a strong performance in the World Baseball Classic (12 scoreless innings). In parts of five seasons with the Yankees, Wang pitched to a 4.16 ERA, 4.2 K/9, 2.6 BB/9 and 60.1 percent ground-ball rate.
Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos sat down for an interview with Sportsnet.ca (video link), discussing (among other things) the club's rotation battle between Ricky Romero and J.A. Happ. The GM said that while Happ will "factor into this club, and it doesn't mean that he can't factor into this club on opening day in some role, some capacity," the team will "do everything we can with Romero" in the spring before taking him out of a starting role.
- Further addressing the issue of rotational depth, Anthopoulos acknowledged that the club lacks "household names" in that area. While the Jays "have 4-A guys," the GM says he wants to add "someone who is a little bit better than that, ... a Happ type of guy." The team is "active ... trying to do some things, trying to make some trades" for a starting-caliber arm that can be used in the bullpen or stashed in the minors, although some player on the current roster "wouldn't be happy, because somebody would be out of a job."
- The Mets appear prepared to enter the season without adding to their mix of outfielders, reports Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. “I think we’ve got a sense of who the five or six are who might be on the team," said GM Sandy Alderson. "What we have is what we’re going to have, and we’re not entirely displeased with that.”
- Rubin also notes that the Mets could be dealing with a long absence from starter Johan Santana, who is still a ways away from returning to the mound, let alone doing so in a big league game. Santana acknowledged that his absence is indefinite: “I’m making progress. It’s just I don’t know when I’m going to be pitching again.” According to Rubin, “there is now an open question about whether Santana’s shoulder and his career will ever be the same.”
- After sending Darin Ruf down to work on his defense, Phillies’ GM Ruben Amaro Jr. acknowledged that there is a chance the Phillies may look to acquire another outfielder via trade, according to Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com. “There’s a lot of time left. If we can improve the team we’ll do it.”
- The Yankees have made their signing of Chien-Ming Wang to a minor-league deal official, according to a team press release. Wang will enter his age-33 season looking for another chance to pitch in pinstripes, and to regain the success he had during his first stint with the club.
Wang was said to be likely to sign with New York following a workout with the team, Dan Martin of the New York Post reported yesterday. Wang was originally signed by the Yankees in 2000 and become a solid member of the rotation from 2005-2009, posting a 4.16 ERA over 109 games (104 of them starts) in his first stint in the pinstripes and finishing second in AL Cy Young voting in 2006 following a league-leading 19 wins.
The Taiwan native ran into injury problems in 2009, however, and missed the entire 2010 campaign before returning with the Nationals in 2011. Wang posted a 4.94 ERA in 94 2/3 IP with Washington in 2011-12 and battled a hip injury last season, but he pitched very well for Chinese Taipei at this year's World Baseball Classic, throwing 12 shutout innings over two starts.
Wang's addition could make the Yankees more comfortable in dealing another starter for corner infield or outfield help, though recent comments from GM Brian Cashman make that concept unlikely.
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. Yankees GM Brian Cashman noted that the club has "some vacancies in the rotation at Scranton" and said that if Wang "was going to have to do a minor league deal somewhere, I think he would probably prefer it to be here."
WEDNESDAY: Agent Alan Chang says he’s in contact with multiple teams about a possible contract for Chien-Ming Wang, Ken Davidoff of the New York Post reports (on Twitter). There’s no timetable for a decision, according to Davidoff, who notes that the Yankees are among the interested teams. Wang is having a tryout in front of some New York scouts at the Yankees’ minor league complex, Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger reports (on Twitter).
Wang, 32, appeared in ten games for the Nationals in 2012, starting five times. He pitched 32 1/3 innings with a 6.68 ERA and as many walks as strikeouts (15) with Washington. However, hamstring and hip issues sidelined Wang for much of the 2012 season.
The bulging disk in Phil Hughes’ back could prove to be a short-term concern, but the Yankees are preparing for the possibility that they’ll need pitching reinforcements. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Yankees are “fishing around” for a veteran starter who can pitch at Triple-A.
The Yankees plan to watch free agent right-hander Chien-Ming Wang at the upcoming World Baseball Classic, Sherman reports. However, GM Brian Cashman said yesterday that he has no interest in signing Kyle Lohse, the top player remaining on the free agent market. Signing Lohse would require the forfeiture of the 27th overall pick in the upcoming amateur draft.
Cashman said the Yankees will rely heavily on their pitching staff in 2013, adding that he expects a decrease in offense. “We are going to score fewer runs,” he admitted. The Yankees' projected rotation consists of Hughes, CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda and Andy Pettitte. David Phelps and Ivan Nova are competing for the final starting job and Adam Warren provides the club with depth.
The Rays shed about $28MM of payroll this winter between B.J. Upton, James Shields, Carlos Pena, Jeff Keppinger, J.P. Howell, and Wade Davis, but that's no problem for the confident organization, writes Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. While the team will look different in several areas this season, they'll still have their typically strong pitching. The first four of the rotation are set with David Price, Jeremy Hellickson, Matt Moore, Alex Cobb with a competition between four strong candidates for the No. 5 spot. Here's more from today's column..
- Bronson Arroyo has been a consistent pitcher for the Reds, but the feeling from most people and the pitcher himself is that this could be his last year in Cincinnati. One major league source says the Cubs would be a perfect fit as a strong veteran presence in their rebuilding effort.
- Agent Alan Nero said he has taken Chien-Ming Wang off the market until he pitches for Taiwan in the World Baseball Classic. If he pitches well, the veteran should have a healthy market for a team in need of depth. The Yankees are keeping tabs on Wang despite already having six starters in the fold.
- While there’s more focus on where Alfonso Soriano might be dealt, David DeJesus could also be a nice midseason chip for the Cubs. The outfielder would be a solid fit for a few teams, including the Phillies, Orioles, and Red Sox.
- It looks like the Indians will hold on to Chris Perez for now, but the Dodgers had serious interest in him not too long ago. If Tribe gets off to a slow start, L.A's interest could be something to keep in mind.
- The Red Sox have discussed first baseman/outfielder Mike Carp, who was designated for assignment last week by the Mariners, as a backup. There may not be room, however, as they are committed to Lyle Overbay. Overbay has asked the Red Sox if he could play some outfield as well this season.
- Roy Oswalt still hasn't officially retired and he could be leaving the door open to join a club during the season. Recently, we learned that the Mets tried to sell Oswalt on becoming their closer in 2013, but the veteran isn't interested in the bullpen.
- Teams will pay attention to out-of-options Red Sox reliever Clayton Mortensen in spring training. The 27-year-old looks to be the odd man out the way the Sox bullpen could be configured.
Here's a look at the latest out of the American League East..
- Despite having six candidates for five rotation spots, the Yankees are keeping tabs on former ace Chien-Ming Wang, writes George A. King III of the New York Post. Wang threw off a mound for Yanks spring training pitching instructor Billy Connors at his Tampa area home recently and put on an impressive performance.
- The Orioles may consider signing outfielder Bobby Abreu, but first plan to “see what they have in camp,”tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Heyman previously reported that theMarlins and Rays could be in the mix for the 38-year-old Abreu.
- Rays manager Joe Maddon plans to provide right-hander Roberto Hernandez, the pitcher previously known as Fausto Carmona, with an opportunity to earn a spot in the starting rotation, reports Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. As Maddon explained, the Rays will“treat [Hernandez] as a starter and then revert back” to a relief role should he fail to beat out other starting options, including Jeff Niemann and Chris Archer. Also of note, Maddon said that righty Alex Cobb is “pretty much ensconced” as the Rays’ fourth starter.
Jeff Todd contributed to this post.