Yankees fans have talked about Chien-Ming Wang rejoining the Yankees and becoming the pitcher he was in 2006 all over again after he re-signed with the team in the offseason. They hoped he could offer some solid minor league depth, which he did, and maybe recapture enough of his former magic to become a viable major league option. That might not have happened.
When his opt out date came, the Yankees let him leave to sign with the Blue Jays and fans were upset the organization let him go. How could they let him go after he was so good in Triple-A? Well, he may have pitched to a 2.33 ERA and 3.36 FIP, but many talent evaluators and the Yankees organization felt he was just not good enough to pitch in the majors. The Blue Jays designated him for assignment last night directly after his disastrous 1.2 inning start against the Tigers, his second such start in a row.
Wang compiled a 7.13 ERA and a 5.31 FIP in five starts. In his first start on June 11, against the White Sox, he gave up five runs on 10 hits, three walks and two home runs without a strikeout, but made it through 7.1 innings. After that he put together two good outings against the Rangers and Orioles, giving up only one run and walking two, but also surrendering 12 hits in 13.1 innings. Wang was good again, but for someone else. This was the point where everything came undone. He got blasted by the Red Sox, giving up seven runs on six hits, two walks and a home run in 1.2 innings and then gave up six runs on eight hits and a walk with a home run, all before the third inning in his last start.
One thing he did do well was get the ball on the ground (62.9%), actually exceeding his career rate with of 59.3% in a small sample size. In Triple-A it was clear that he didn't have the velocity he once had and his sinker ball was not as devastating as it used to be. When he could get the ball down, everything was good, but if he left it up it was going to get crushed. Clearly his stuff just couldn't fool major league hitters for long.
Maybe the most vocal fans felt he could recover, considering his strong numbers in the minors, or maybe they just assumed because of who Wang used to be. But that was five years ago and that Wang might be long gone. This could be the last we see of him. You eventually have to move on and do something else, like Brandon Webb did and Mark Prior has refused to do. It's probably time for us to move on as well. He accepted an assignment to Triple-A and now he's back where he started. He could eventually catch on somewhere in some capacity, but it won't be the same and the Yankees made the right choice.
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