Wang Out for More Than 6 Weeks June 16, 2008Posted by Pablo Zevallos in Chien-Ming Wang, Derek Lowe, DL Stint, Injuries, Rich Harden, Trade Rumors.
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This via PeteAbe:
RHP Chien-Ming Wang was examined today at New York Presbyterian Hospital Columbia Medical Center by Yankees Team Physician, Dr. Stuart Hershon and Dr. Justin Greisberg, Foot and Ankle Specialist.
Imaging studies revealed a mid-foot sprain of the Lisfranc ligament of the right foot and a partial tear of the peroneal longus tendon of the right foot.
Wang will be on crutches and wear a protective boot for a minimum of six weeks.
Well, beyond the obvious fact that he’ll be on the DL and someone needs to replace him, this is terrible news. Six weeks later puts us at July 26th, at which time he’ll need to resume throwing, which may be about a month. At this point you’re talking about
But it’s not that terrible. This isn’t losing A-Rod for six weeks, it’s losing a pitcher who does his work every five days for about 20 starts, which is a lot but it’s certainly not the end of the world. There are options to fill the void.
First, we have to turn to Dan Giese–he’s been lights-out in the pen and in Scranton, even if he doesn’t have the fastball (87-88). Giese should give the Yanks some time to let Daniel McCutchen and/or Alan Horne make a case for themselves and develop. Don’t forget Ian Kennedy, who’s should be back after getting at least two (which, in Yankeeland, means more) starts, and hopefully he progresses.
The other option, of course, is to turn to the trade market. As Tim Dierkes of MLBTR notes, Joe Blanton, Rich Harden, Erik Bedard, Derek Lowe, C.C. Sabathia, Randy Wolf, Kevin Millwood, Vincente Padilla, and Paul Byrd. The Rangers released Sidney Ponson as the Brewers did to Jeff Weaver, and the Mariners (besides doing themselves a favor in firing Bill Bavasi) demoted Miguel Batista to the bullpen. I don’t think that anyone in the system can give any less than Padilla, Byrd, Ponson, Batista, or Weaver (yuck), so we can cancel those out. Millwood is 34, miserable, and expensive, so cross him out too. Lowe is 35 and earns $10M, but he’s well worth it, particularly with how he eats innings and is very effective in his sinkerballing ways. He’d be a solid acquisition, and will certainly be a Type A player after the season, netting us picks. Bedard is struggling, so I’d want no part of him. Blanton has lost some his fastball already at 28 with the reputation of a groundballing innings-eater, but there isn’t much upsider or much to like. Harden has sick stuff and has ace potential, and would be a great acquisition, but the big if (BIG IF) is if he can stay healthy. Wolf has never pitched in the AL, and, despite posting great numbers, doesn’t have enough stuff to do it in the junior circuit, either. Sabathia, is, well, Sabathia, but he’d cost a king’s ransom of prospects, which the Yankees might not be prepared to give up.
I think we can fill the Wang hole internally, but we can do great by getting ourselves Lowe or Harden, and, if you want to swallow trading a big prospect, Sabathia.
Yankees Sweep Series in Houston June 16, 2008Posted by Pablo Zevallos in Alex Rodriguez, Chien-Ming Wang, Houston Astros, Injuries, Robinson Cano, Stupid Bud Selig....
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After a close victory in the first game, the Yankees came from behind off Wandy Rodriguez (with a 1.99 ERA coming in) and beat the Astros, 8-3. Mike Mussina excelled after surrendering a 3-run blast to Carlos Lee in the first inning, and in total allowed 6H, 0BB, and 3ER in 6IP while striking out 4. He only needed 89 pitches, and of those he threw 65 for strikes (73%), along with a 8-5 GB-FB ratio. His command of all his pitches was great, and he is continuing his All-Star season.
Offensively, the team was resilient after a big Houston first. A-Rod hit a homer that barely cleared the stands, with back-to-back Jason Giambi and Melky Cabrera doubles. In the third, for some reason Alex Rodriguez is intentionally walked with Johnny Damon on first (it’s only the third!), and back-to-back walks to Giambi and Cabrera score Damon. Fast forwarding to the eighth, Robinson Cano drives in Cabrera on a pinch-hit single to center, and Wilson Betemit hit a rocket double to drive in Damon and Rodriguez in the ninth.
Yesterday, the Yankees won, 13-0, it’s largest road shutout win since 2002. It was a day full of offense, the highlights being A-Rod and Posada homers (12th and 3rd, respectively) and 2-4 days for Cano (3RBI) and Derek Jeter (2RBI). Besides all the hits (15), the Yankees were patient and took advantage of walks galore (7 issued by Houston pitching) and an ineffective Roy Oswalt.
But all this doesn’t matter with the big news of the day. Chien-Ming Wang was injured rounding 3rd on an RBI hit by Jeter in the 6th, knocking him out of the game. It was his foot, which he needed crutches to walk with and had all iced up after the game. (More info in the next post.) Such pitchers’ injuries speaks to the asinine nature of AL pitchers hitting in interleague play. Pitchers coming up in AL organizations don’t hit in the minors, and there’s a DH in every league in the world except the NL and Japan’s Central League. Pitchers who don’t hit or run the bases are susceptible to this because they’re not used to it, and they don’t have to be–they never do it anyway. AL pitchers don’t take batting practice or run bases in practice until the week of games, so they’re not conditioned (in this case meaning “not trained to,” not “not fit”) to be ready. So why would MLB make them do it? What tradition are we preserving? Are the fans or the players more important? Don’t answer to quickly–without good players there are no fans.
Yankees Win Two of Three in Oakland June 14, 2008Posted by Pablo Zevallos in Andy Pettitte, Chien-Ming Wang, Ian Kennedy, Oakland A's, Series Recaps.
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Overall, the Yankees did well in Oakland. The first game was one where Wang came up huge and regained his form. (See here for more details.) In the second game, a Jason Giambi error didn’t help Darrell Rasner, who took a page out of the IPK book and started nibbling, getting shelled for 7ER in 3.2IP. At that point, the rest of the game didn’t matter. However, birthday boy Hideki Matsui hit a grand slam for the Yankees’s only runs in the last game of the series against Justin Duscherer. Matsui’s slam was the only time a Yankee has ever hit a grand slam on his birthday.
The pitching was generally good, as Wang had a great first game and Andy Pettitte pitched eight innings of 1-run ball. Both Wang and Petttitte returned to form, which is nice to see and hopefully continues. The offense wasn’t great (3, 4, and 4 runs scored) , but it was enough to win. The defense was also good save for two Jason Giambi errors.
However, Rasner’s outing was troubling. His prior performance this year wasn’t sustainable, with a 41% GB rate with only a 15.6% K/PA rate. Before his latest performance his FIP was almost a run higher than his ERA (now it is lower). Moreover, his HR/FB rate is remarkably low at 4%, less than the league average at 11%. Now that he has seemingly touched earth, it remains to be seen how long he gets before he gives way to Phil Hughes or Ian Kennedy.
Wang Regains His Form, Melky Proves Us Wrong…For One Day June 11, 2008Posted by Pablo Zevallos in Chien-Ming Wang, Game Recaps, Melky Cabrera.
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I’ll briefly go over last night’s game: Chien-Ming Wang made the recommended adjustments to his mechanics, and pitched beautifully with this line: 7.1IP, 7H, 1ER, 2BB, 2K, 15-5 GB-FB. The last number is beautiful and quite telling of the clinic he went on yesterday. Jose Veras relieved him in the eighth and finished loading the bases before wriggling out of it, and Mo pitched a scoreless ninth for the save.
On the offensive, A-Rod and Jason Giambi had RBI singles of Dana Eveland in the first inning, and Melky Cabrera homered off Keith Foulke. It’s a testament to how far Foulke has declined, but we hope it’s Melky finding something between his April and May selves, as he hasn’t homered in over a month but has hit .296/.321/.407. I still want to see what Brett Gardner can do…
Dramatic Endings Are Nice, But Questions Remain June 7, 2008Posted by Pablo Zevallos in Andy Pettitte, Chien-Ming Wang, Dave Eiland, Ian Kennedy, Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes.
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In two of the last three, the Yankee game has ended with a walk-off hit of some sort. On Thursday, it was a monster Jason Giambi homerun 15 rows back in the upper deck, and today it was a Johnny Damon double down the line to beat the Royals. Giambi’s homer came on a day that was almost lost and ruined by Chien-Ming Wang, who continues his struggles, and Damon’s 6-6 day (tying an American League record for most hits in a 9 inning game–truly amazing!) and his last double made everything right for the Yankees, who bunted Derek Jeter in the first inning (why???) and Andy Pettitte. Pettitte’s struggles continue, as he gave up 10ER and two HRs after surrendering three leads in his last start in Minnesota.
Wang and Pettitte are the anchors of this rotation. They both have enough stuff to get it done, Wang of course moreso than Pettitte. Wang’s GAS (glove side shoulder), according to pitching coach Dave Eiland and catcher Jorge Posada, has started to fly open, preventing his trademark sinker from sinking, and inhibiting proper command. Pettitte has lost about 2MPH from his fastball, now being 87-89 instead of 88-92 like last year. That prevents proper separation from his cutter, which checks in at 84-87, more often on the higher side than the lower side on that range. That can be explained by age and throwing the cutter so much, as throwing the cutter can cause reduction in velocity earlier than usual. In addition, he also looses command of his cutter at times, preventing him from establishing it and thus his other pitches. However, he doesn’t use his other pitches enough at times. He can go too cutter-heavy and then hitters know what to look for, so they just sit on it. He needs to use his curveball and changeup more, and stop being quite so desperate.
This raises the question of the effectiveness of Eiland. This year was supposed to be a transition year, with the offense a year older and Mike Mussina supposed to be somewhere between his stellar 2006 and shaky 2007. Chien-Ming was supposed to win 19 games (again) and Andy Pettitte was supposed to solidly hold the fort for the younger players. Phil Hughes was supposed to take a step forward from his 2007 debut, and Ian Kennedy, while not expected to put up numbers like he did in the minors and September of 2007, was supposed to be a reliable #4/#5 starter.
Almost none of it has happened consistently. Mussina has been great and leads the AL in wins with his slow, slower, slowest approach (Jamie Moyer, anyone?). Hughes and Kennedy are on the DL right now, and both were lit up for almost the whole season (though Kennedy was improving before his DL stint). Wang started well before flopping since the beginning of May, and Pettitte has been looking bad since the Mets series. Even Joba, who has done great, has walked almost 4.5 per 9. Eiland was supposed to be great, as he worked with the Big 3 in Scranton. However, retrospectively speaking, the three weren’t together for more than a month. Hughes was in Scranton for the first three weeks of the season before getting promoted, and was already an uber-prospect. He then returned for two rehab starts in July. Kennedy spent half of August and September there, while Chamberlain was there for a week. So his impact on the trio can’t be that big. Eiland, a former pitcher himself, seems like a nice guy, but in my book he’s on a short leash. I’d like to give him until Independence Day to see what happens. Wang and Pettitte should straighten themselves out by then, Kennedy should be back, and we’ll see how keeps Mussina keeps on doing. By then J.B. Cox and/or David Robertson is certain to be in the bigs, and we’ll see how that goes.
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Prior to this year, we thought that what we would get from Chien-Ming Wang and Melky Cabrera was all we were going to get throughout the primes of their careers. We knew Wang and his turbo sinker were going to get groundball outs against every team except the Red Sox and Blue Jays and that Melky would be a fringe starter with a rocket arm in CF. Or so we thought.
This year, Wang has matured as a pitcher, throwing more sliders and changeups, and even more of his mid-90′s 4-seamer while still using that sinker often. He’s getting better results–45IP, 38H, 13BB, but, more notably, 32Ks, or 6.4Ks/9. Previously that rate was below 3, and he was getting extreme amounts of groundballs, which, do to where they may land and the quality of a defense, aren’t dependable. Strikeouts are infinitely more dependable and can get a pitcher out of a tight spot really easily. While previously posting G/F rates of 2.96, 3.06, and 2.68 in his career, now he’s posting a more normal rate of 1.92. Now he has more ace potential, rather than just a really good #2.
Melky Cabrera’s development is even more shocking. He’s slugged .391 in back-to-back seasons, hitting 7 and 8 HRs in those seasons. He walked a combined 99 times and hit 1.48 and and 1.81 groundballs to flyballs. Everything has changed. Now he has 6HRs (the most notable change), is seeing a hair under 4 pitches per PA, and is hitting more balls in the air–1.08 G/F. What has led to this? Despite his height, he has bulked up to an even 200lbs, so some of those line drives become homers. But he is also swinging a bit harder and has better timing to make powerful contact, and he isn’t just swing as much with his arms. I am just now starting to see the Carlos Beltran comparisons, and while I don’t think he’ll ever hit 41 HRs, I could definitely see something like his age 24 season, with a bit less strikeouts and bit less steals. But this kid will be good, and there will be soon be a Major League OF glut.
Wang Tapped as Opening Day Starter March 22, 2008Posted by Pablo Zevallos in 2008 Opening Day, 2008 Spring Training, Chien-Ming Wang.
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Yesterday, Joe Girardi named Chien-Ming Wang as the starter on Opening Day. This was essentially known for weeks–his Spring Training assignments have been on track with Opening Day, and he merited the start anyway. At least it’s not Carl Pavano this year.
- Andy Pettitte and Robinson Cano were scratched from today’s game with back issues. Jon Alabadejo started and punched his ticket to Scranton, allowing 6 ER in 1/3 IP. However, the game was canceled after an inning and a half due to rain.
Yankees Beat Wang in Arbitration February 17, 2008Posted by Pablo Zevallos in 2008 Arbitration Hearings, Chien-Ming Wang.
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The Yankees beat RHP Chien-Ming Wang in arbitration. Wang requested $4.6M, while the Yankees offered $4M. Wang’s case was that he has won 19 games two years in a row, and has been a consistent ace for the Yankees. The Yankees’ case was that Wang’s success was largely attributed to the great fielding (I’m not so sure…) and hitting around him, he lost two games in the ALDS (ouch…) and that he’s been on the DL multiple times.
Wang seems to be the type of guy who would move on, and he should. It should be noted (and it has been, particularly by the Yankees) that the only other pitcher to get more than $4M in arbitration was Dontrelle Willis in 2005, after going 22-10.
Mailbag #2 January 27, 2008Posted by Pablo Zevallos in 30-rule for Pitchers, Alan Horne, Andy Pettitte, Chien-Ming Wang, Ian Kennedy, Jeff Marquez, Joba Chamberlain, Mike Mussina, Phil Hughes, Robinson Cano.
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Presenting…our second mailbag.
What will the Yankees do with the six major league starters they have on the roster? Does Kennedy get demoted? Or do they skip starts with Chamberlain and Hughes using Kennedy to fill in?–Eric
No one has a definitive answer on that one yet. I think they could extend Hughes to about 160 innings, considering he threw ~146 in 2006 and ~110 this year. Ian Kennedy will be able to throw ~195 innings after throwing ~165 this year. Joba Chamberlain, who threw 112 innings this year, won’t go more than about 140 innings this year. Assuming a healthy starter throws 200 innings a year, and Andy Pettitte and Chien Ming-Wang match their innings total from last year, that leaves 147 innings to be accounted for. This number increases if you account for Joba Chamberlain either starting or finishing the year in the bullpen–let’s say he pitches 100 in the rotation and 40 in the bullpen. That now leaves us with 187 innings to fill. Mike Mussina doesn’t have the stuff, endurance, or adaptability to pitch that much, so let’s say he pitches 140 innings. That now leaves us with 47 innings. Jeff Marquez and Alan Horne will probably be major-league ready by October, and either could pitch in the bullpen in 2008 to start or end the year, and their innings cap will be around 180-185, so either one could step in. So, if you really think about it, you would need seven pitchers to get through the year–meaning Mike Mussina needs to come through.
Maybe you could show some of the commenter’s why the 30 rule is new wave. Look up just a few of them;
W. Ford 112 r, 207, 210, 230 ave.
B. Turley 7.3r, 60.3, 247.3, 212 ave.
M. Stottlemyer, 96.0r, 291.0, 252.7 ave.
F. Peterson, 215.0r, 181.3, 220 ave.
Pettitte, 175.0r, 221.0, 215.7 ave.
Moose, 87.7r, 241.0, 227 ave.
Now, I understand there is much more money involved with pitchers. If the other guys could do it, why can’t the big 3? I realize that one would have to evaluate each pitcher on the merits of pushing them (just a little bit) longer.–Old Ranger
The 30-rule is in place because studies on pitchers have proven that increasing a pitcher’s woarkload by my more than 30 innings a year gives him a significantly higher injury risk for the following season. Throwing a baseball isn’t a natural motion–throwing underhand is. Since most pitchers pitch over-the-top, there is increased stress on the shoulder and elbows when pitching, so it must be controlled. Otherwise, again, there will be injury.
Will Cano be keeping his number, 24? or switching back to 22?–Aubrey
Probably 24–I see no reason to change numbers.
Cano, Yankees Agree to 4yr/$28M deal January 25, 2008Posted by Pablo Zevallos in 2008 Arbitration Hearings, Chien-Ming Wang, Robinson Cano.
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Per multiple sources, the Yankees have agreed to a 4yr/$28M deal with 2B Robinson Cano. There are club options in 2012 for $13M and 2013 for $15M. This also buys 4 years of arbitration and, potentially, two years of free agency.
This is a great deal for the Yankees. They sign one of the centerpieces of the Yankee lineup for a long time, and at a slightly below-market deal at that. I don’t think the Yankees should go long-term with Chien-Ming Wang, though, which they probably won’t anyway. Wang is a pitcher who has experienced various injuries over the last couple of years, and won’t be in his prime through the end of his deal. If indeed he is doing his groundball act with smoke and mirrors, it would surely be exposed by then. The Yankees also have top prospects with higher upside (Dellin Betances, maybe Jairo Heredia?) who will be ready to take over his spot in the rotation.