Wang Done For Year

In his only two full seasons in the big leagues, Chien-Ming Wang won 19 games each season and was the runner-up in the 2006 Cy Young award balloting.  Despite his struggles in the early part of 2009, the Yanks will miss Wang, who is scheduled to undergo season-ending shoulder surgery today.  Wang could also be out until the all-star break next year, a fact that doesn’t bode well for his future in pinstripes.

For now though, the Yanks are going to have to figure out how to replace Wang.  In spring training, starting pitching depth was something the Yanks were proud of, having a rotation six or seven deep.  Then, Phil Hughes was sent to the bullpen, where he has become an irreplaceable bridge to Mariano RiveraIan Kennedy is likely out for the season because of an aneurysm.  Alfredo Aceves is in the bullpen (and has shoulder soreness, himself).  For now, Sergio Mitre is the fifth starter, but he’s given up 17 hits and seven earned runs in 10.2 innings through two starts.

As much as I’d like to see Hughes moved to the rotation, he’d need to be stretched out (same with Aceves), which could take some time in the minors.  The bullpen would be substantially weaker if either Hughes or Aceves would be moved to the rotation.  So for now, do the Yanks stick with Mitre?  They might have to since there are no answers in AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.  Making a trade before Friday’s deadline is a possibility, but it won’t be Roy Halladay or Cliff Lee, who both come with steep asking prices.  Personally, I hope Brian Cashman keeps some prospects untouchable.

As for Wang, he’s in his arbitration years, so the Yankees and Wang would have to come to an agreement on a contract for 2010 or go to salary arbitration.  One option they could take is to non-tender him, making him a free agent.  Notice how the Yankees haven’t reached out to Wang to sign him to a long-term deal.  After missing half of 2008 with an injury, a forgetful 2009, and a possible late return in 2010, would you blame the Yankees if they gave up on him?

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