For a team that just won the World Series, the Yankees don’t currently have much in their rotation for 2010. We don’t mean this to say that the pitchers in their rotation aren’t good enough; we mean that they literally only have two warm bodies (CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett) penciled into their rotation as of right now.
Andy Pettitte could very well decide to retire, Chad Gaudin and Sergio Mitre are likely to return and are at least candidates to start, and no one really knows what’s going to happen with Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes. (Brian Cashman described them yesterday as “starters that can relieve,” which clears up exactly nothing.) That brings us to Chien-Ming Wang.
Was Watching rounded up the recent news and musings about Wang yesterday, to whom the Yankees must decide whether to tender a contract by December 12. The Boston Globe reports that Wang received “a very positive report” on his shoulder from Dr. James Andrews, while Ken Davidoff writes that Wang intends to start throwing on December 1, and (being optimistic) could be ready to return by April 15.
Davidoff thinks that, as of right now, Wang won’t return, but Joel Sherman points out that “there is belief in the industry” that Wang can and does earn money in Taiwan because he’s a Yankee, and thus, might be willing to accept a lower base salary to remain with the team.
In which case, we’ll go back to something else Cashman said yesterday, when discussing Hughes and Chamberlain: “I would anticipate going into spring training with as much starting depth as possible. Plan on having a whole list of guys.” If the price is right, there’s enough of a potential upside to keeping Wang that it would be worth their while to do so. After all, at his best, he’s a lot better than Chad Gaudin. But, really, we’d be surprised if this is about money. The decision the Yankees will make will be based on this: Was Wang’s stunningly rapid decline this spring the result of an injury that’s now been addressed, or something else? It’s that unknown “something else” that’s so scary.