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One Reason the Yanks Are Hesitant to Extend Wang

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As CMW heads to his arbitration hearing today, I found this piece especially relevant to the discussing of a long term contract. Wang has made his feelings crystal clear.

David Gasko over at The Hardball Times begins to tackle the truism that high K pitchers have longer and more successful careers than low K pitchers.

(Be ye warn, there be Sabermetrics within that link. Arrrg).

What he figures out is that when we remove the best and worst pitchers (using an advanced form of WHIP that takes slugging and strikeouts into the equation to produce an ERA-like number), is that the remaining pitchers project to be equally successful even though there is a gap in their strikeout totals.

There is one major difference between the high K and the low K groups: their expected IP.

This effects Wang because these are the records of the way the pitchers have been use, and therefore, the way the pitchers have been valued. And Wang might face a similar career path: overlooked in favor of players with flashier stats.

I suspect Brian Cashman (or someone within the front office) has read Bill James' argument that high K pitchers last longer. I'm willing to bet that the reluctance to offer Wang a long term deal stems from his low K totals and his age (his 28th birthday is Opening Day) rather than from any nagging concerns about his 2004 shoulder injury or his poor performance in the playoffs. Wang (and the fans) are going to have to get used to one year deals; he's under team control until 2011 (his age 31 season).

I know I was predicting doom and gloom for Wang before the 2006 season because of his low K rates, but I've seen encouraging signs. I like that his K/9 leapt from 3.14 in 2006 to 4.70 in 2007, I like the slider he mixed in on days the sinker wasn't working, and I like that his BABIP has held steady around .292 over the last couple seasons.

But if the wheels fall off, the Yankees are in the best position to move on with no regrets.