The Chien-Ming Wang era in New York has finally ended (*mixed boos and cheers*). The Yankees decided on not tendering Wangs contract before the 11:59pm deadline Saturday. New York opted to tender contracts to outfielder Melky Cabrera and pitchers Chad Gaudin and Sergio Mitre. The decision basically came down to starters/trade bait. Cabrera is the current left fielder (and trade bait), and Gaudin and Mitre are current candidates for the back of the rotation. Had the Yankees tendered his contract, arbitration would have given him 20% less than his $5 mil. contract for this season.
In 104 career starts as a Yankee, he went 55-26 with a 4.16 ERA in 5 seasons as a Yankee. Of course, his two 19-win seasons were considered his best, and his accuracy was pin-point. He started 2008 8-2 and everyone remembers that one June day in 2008 in Houston when he tore a muscle in his foot and sprained his ankle rounding third base causing him to be out until September. Then this past season came, and he got knocked around and had a record of 1-6 with a 9.64 ERA before he was shut down for the season due to shoulder surgery.
Wang and his agent expect to get offers from other teams very soon, and if it would be from the Yanks it would be for much less money.
Let the Winter Meetings begin ! And since we’re on the free agent topic of starting pitchers, let’s stick with Jason Marquis.
Marquis was drafted in 1996 by the Atlanta Braves. His debut was in 2000, and he spent the following 3 years in the ATL. These years were rough for Marquis, as he never really showed improvement stats wise, going 14-15 with a 4.45 ERA. He lost his starting job for nearly all of 2003. In 2004, the St. Louis Cardinals took the risk of signing Marquis and naming him a starter. That year, Marquis broke out with a 15-7 record and a 3.71 ERA in 200+ innings. In his 3 seasons in St. Louis, he gave up 26, 29, and 35 home runs, which is a ridiculous amount. Marquis’ worst year in STL was in 2006, in which he went 14-16 with an awful 6.02 ERA, as the Cards went on to win the World Series. He spent the next two seasons in Chicago with positive records, and this past season in Colorado, where he was 15-13 with a 4.04 ERA; people thought he was the mid-season MVP before his ERA shot up.
Now, the question: should the Yanks sign him? While his career record is 94-83, his ERA is 4.48, which is very high for a longtime starter. His home runs allowed have gone down dramatically since his 3 years in STL. Marquis could be a good fit as the Yankees fourth or fifth starter, definitely not third. His inconsistency can be scary, and you know Yankee fans would jump on him if he does poorly as the 3rd starter. He isn’t a strikeout machine, but he does have accuracy. Another concern would be expecting him to jump into the AL, considering his entire career has been in the NL. He’s 31 years old and has good stuff. Look for a 4 year, $41 MM deal (around $10.2 mil/year) if he should get one.
Marquis grew up in Manhasset, NY, on Long Island. He went to the Little League World Series in 1991, where he pitched two no-hitters in the quarterfinals and 3rd Place game. He grew up a huge Yankee fan, and a Don Mattingly fan. This could effect his decision to play in pinstripes if the Yankees pursue…
With Justin Duchscherer being reviewed with his mental problems, we turn to another high-risk, high-reward type pitcher in Erik Bedard. Yes, we all remember him as the guy who was traded from Baltimore to Seattle for soon-to-be All-Star Adam Jones and reliever George Sherrill, but obviously the trade didn’t go so well for the Mariners. Why you ask? Bedard started just 15 games in each of his two seasons in Seattle, going a combined 11-7 with a 3.24 ERA. In 2008, his season ended in June after tearing his labrum, an injury many doctors say a pitcher will never be able to return to true form from. The labrum is the joint that basically connects the arm to the shoulder and allows movement, so you can only imagine the pain. He had surgery in September and returned for Spring Training. In 2009, he left in June again after inflammation in the very same shoulder, and he missed the rest of the year. Note: He has been on the DL 6 times in the last 3 seasons.
photo from Getty Images
So, let us look back to the good old days when he was a strikeout machine. For the Orioles from 2004-2007 (and .2 innings in 2002) he went 40-34 (remember how below average the O’s have been this decade). A 3.94 ERA over that span; 658 innings, 639 strikeouts, including a team record 221 in 2007 (10.93 KPG) and walking just 254 [just over a 2.5-1 K-BB ratio]. He is a career 5-4 vs. Boston, 11-3 vs. Tampa Bay, but only 1-3 at Yankee Stadium as an opponent.
Now, seeing this, do we take the risk and go after the lefty? There’s a chance he could be a stud again, and there’s a chance he could get hurt again. Let’s face it..we need a starter for next year (more like two or three or four). Personally, I would rather go after someone like a Duchscherer, with Bedard next in line. Harden and Sheets (more Harden to me) are too great of risks to take, unless they remain free agents until late in the off-season. But if we want him, we better hurry, his drafter Baltimore is looking to sign him for some good money…
*Photo Courtesy of SI*
Derek batted was third in the AL with a .334 avg, second with 212 hits, and led the league with reaching base 289 times. He also won his 4th Gold Golve, Silver Slugger, Hank Aaron Award, Roberto Clemente Award, and of course passed Lou Gehrig as the Yankees all-time hits leader. Congratulations Derek!
RHP Zach McAllister and C Jesus Montero were named the Yankees’ top organizational players of the year. Montero had an outstanding year at FSL Florida and Double-A Trenton, hitting .317 with 17 HR and 70 RBI, along with a .562 SLG and .951 OPS. McAllister went 7-5 in 22 starts at Trenton, and had an organization-best 2.23 ERA. In 121 innings, he allowed just 98 hits, 33 walks and 4 home runs. McAllister was called up to the Triple-A SWB Yankees for their playoffs. Both players were named EAS All-Stars this year.
Also a quick congrats: Class A Charleston RiverDogs manager Mike Williams was named South Atlantic League Manager of the Year.
MLB teams finalized their 40-man rosters Friday. Only teams with spots still remaining can partake in the December 10th Rule 5 Draft, where teams can basically steal players from other organizations that are not on their 40-man roster, to give these players a fair chance. In this case, the Yankees filled up 7 of their 8 remaining spots on the 40-man, leaving one empty, giving them one selection in the Draft. The 7 players added to the 40-man from the Minor Leagues were OF Austin Jackson, right hander pitchers Ivan Nova, Romulo Sanchez and Hector Noesi, and 2B Reegie Corona, SS Eduardo Nunez and 2B Kevin Russo; keeping them all safe for another year.
Austin Jackson is now safe, which is most important, because it would ensure him a spot on the 25-man roster in the event that the Yanks don’t sign another long-term outfielder. Note: DH/OF Shelley Duncan was dropped from the 40-man roster, making him eligible to be drafted by another team. After winning IL MVP with 30 HR and 99 RBI, it is likely that we can say goodbye to Shelley.
Key Yankee Organizational Players That Filed
-RHP Humberto Sanchez (AAA) [acquired in Gary Sheffield trade] Good stuff, possible MLB future
-C Chris Stewart (AAA)- Backup catcher, hit .280 with 18 RBI
– 3B Eric Duncan (AAA)- 2003 1st-Round draft choice, a fan favorite who can field the ball and can also hit for power.
– IF Cody Ransom (AAA)- Backup for most of the 2009 season for the MLB Yanks, but also filled in for Alex Rodriguez at 3B for the first month of the season until he hurt his own quad. In 122 at-bats in the MLB in 08 and 09, he has a .230 avg, 4 HR and 18 RBI, and can also play the field.
-OF Freddy Guzman (AAA) [if you consider him a SWB Minor Leaguer, acquired from the Orioles at the ’09 deadline], extremely fast, can cover ground in the field. However,very little power. Solid player off the bench.
-OF John Rodriguez (AAA)- Signed by the Yankees as a non-drafted free agent in 1996. Spent time with the Cardinals, Mets and Rays. Good power.
I would re-sign Sanchez and Duncan, because they still have MLB futures ahead of them.
My Players to Watch that Filed from Other Teams
– RHP Clint Everts (*WAS)- Picked by the Expos (Nationals) 5th overall in 2002 draft. Good stuff, went 8-1 with a 1.65 ERA, 68 Ks, 26 BB in 60 IP in the minors in 2009. Just 23 years old.
– LHP Rich Hill (*BAL)- With the Cubs and Orioles, a career record of 21-20. Nasty curveball. Would make a good long relief man or spot starter.
– LHP Chris Capuano (*MIL)- Another lefty with a good curve. Has been hit by some injuries in recent years, but the Yankees could take their chances. I like him as another long reliever/spot starter.
– OF Chris Denorfia (*OAK)- Good all around player, can come off the bench if needed.
– LHP Gustavo Chacin (*PHI)- You may remember him as the guy with the glasses from the Blue Jays a few years back. 25-15 in his MLB career, went 9-4 with a 3.20 ERA for AAA Lehigh Valley.
– RHP Chad Cordero (*SEA)- Longtime Expos/Nationals closer, led the league in 2005 with 47 saves. Career 20-14 with a 2.78 and 128 saves. Could be a great pickup to pad the back end of the bullpen.
Other players to watch: 3B Travis Metcalf (*TB), LHP Javier Lopez (*BOS), RHP Phillip Humber (*MIN), C Eliezer Alfonzo (*SD), 3B Joe Thurston (*STL), 3B Dallas McPherson (*SF), OF Tim Raines Jr. (*KC), 2B Josh Barfield (*CLE).