When I read the headline, I first had to do a double take. Isn’t this the same Chien-Ming who was the anchor of all those none World Series winning Yankee teams? In 2006 wasn’t he runner up for the AL Cy Young Award? Oh how the mighty have fallen. The latest is that Wang will not be ready until as late as June and the Yankees decided they could sign him for much less be letting him go. That is if Chien-Ming wants to resign with the Yankees.
This one was hard for me to take since I first saw Wang as a rookie with the Staten Island Yankees. He started the game I was at and pitched beautifully for 3 innings, I made sure I watched his career as he ascended through the minors. In 2005 he cracked the Yankees starting rotation and finished with a respectible 8-5 record ERA of 4.02 and a WHIP of 1.25. Yankee fans were immediately hooked on him and until 2008 he was an anchor in the rotation.
In 2006 he went 19-6/3.63/1.31 and recorded the most wins in the AL that season. He finished second to Johan Santana, but had a better season than Roy Halliday that year. In 2007 it was more of the same, he went 19-7/3.70/1.29, establishing himself as the ace of the rotation. At this point Yankee fans were elated that they had a legitimate ace that came up through their farm system. Then 2008 rolled around.
It started out quite well for him, going 8-2/4.07/1.31, but then during an interleague game against the Houston Astros, he severly injured his right foot in an base running accident. He has never pitched the same since. Last season he finished with a dismal 1-6/9.64/2.02 stat line. It was the worst of his career and he may very well be done with baseball. Right now he is rehabbing his foot and should be available as early as April or as late as June. He is listening to all offers and may not re-sign with the Yankees.
As far as he cards are concerned, for a guy that might be nearing the end of his career, his cards are still selling very high. This is largely due to the huge Pacific Rim following he has. His low numbered autograph / patch cards are routinely pulling in triple digits and some of his 1/1’s are pulling in nearly $450. I don’t truely understand it, but I know how the Pacific Rim folks go nuts over Hideo Nomo serial numbered cards. I really hope Wang is able to turn it around, but it’s looking more and more it won’t be with the Yankees if he does.