Would It Be Wrong To Lose Wang?

Remember the good times?

Chien-Ming came up from our very own farm system – a rookie phenom from Taiwan and a Yankee to the core. So what if he couldn’t speak English and never left his hotel room? The kid could pitch. He had that amazing sinker.
In his quiet way he went about his business, achieved back-to-back 19-win seasons, became the ace of the staff. It was such a pleasure to watch him induce ground ball after ground ball.
There was just one not-so-tiny problem: he was terrible in the 2007 postseason. He had two starts in the ALDS against the Indians and lost both of them, giving up a total of 12 runs over five-plus innings for an ERA of 19.06 (gag). Was that the beginning of Wang’s “lost period” when we’d catch him staring off into space while sitting in the dugout?
Was his postseason funk the result of mechanical problems? Did anybody bother to look under his hood?
He rebounded beautifully in 2008, becoming the first pitcher to win six games that year. But then came the fateful interleague game against the Astros. Since the Yanks were playing in Houston, Wang was running the bases when this happened.
Big trouble. The foot injury ended his season and seemed to have carried over into ’09. He was never “right.” Was it his hip or his head? All I know is his stint on the DL led to Hughes’ stint in the bullpen. While we certainly could have used another 19-game winner in the rotation along with CC, it was a revelation to see Huuuuughes emerge as the bridge to Mo.
Wang struggled when he returned. Then more trouble: season-ending shoulder surgery. According to some reports, he could be back on the mound this spring. But will he have the velocity he used to? Will he be able to throw the sinker and come up with other effective pitches? Will he be any good? Or will the Yankees get him healthy, showcase him, hope there’s interest from other teams and wave goodbye?
I don’t know, but what a boost for him and for the Yankees if he could rediscover his magic and be a reliable starter again. I’d take a healthy Wang over Lackey any day.


  1. diane.anziano@gmail.com

    I don’t know what to think. When he’s on, Wang is strong. A big plus is that he already knows what its like to play before the New York fans and he’s been able to do it. That’s a variable that you can’t predict with new players. Sometimes pitchers come back stronger after surgery. Let’s hope that’s what happens with Wang.

  2. hrcoyankeefan@comcast.net

    Hi Jane,

    How was your trip home? I’m amazed that you always do your blog regardless of what is happening. As one of your devotees, know that I am quite OK with you taking a day off if you need it. BTW, does your mom read you daily? In your book you mentioned the sadness of saying goodbye not knowing if it might be the last time. I know what you mean. When we lived in Rochester and my mom was in Arizona, we didn’t see each other much and I always cried when we said goodbye. She did pass away so it makes me happy that you still have yours.

    I’ve never done the hot-stove thing. I usually don’t follow much until opening day but of course coming off a WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP makes the off-season more palatable. I am loving MLBN. They have some fun shows. Last night I watched a couple Prime 9 shows. Derek comes up as the 7th best shortstop ever – and he’s not even done.

    I finished the book and I’ll get back to you on my reflections.


  3. diane.anziano@gmail.com

    But you’ve got all of Jane’s novels to read, Peggy. I know you’ve read a few but they’re all worth the time.

    Much as I’d love to have you back in NY, Jane, I can’t see you giving up the beautiful weather. If you come back to visit again in January then I’m sure you’ll stay put in California. Although, at least we don’t have earthquakes here. Something to think about.

    Dave, you kill me with the songs — keep it up.

  4. Jane Heller

    I’m not so sure about Wang’s surgery, Diane. Sometimes players come back strong after Tommy John, but that’s not what he had, right? I’m worried about his velocity. I’m also worried that he never really developed more than one pitch, and after a couple of seasons the hitters around the league figured him out. That said, I’d love to see him back. He could be so important to the team.

    Thanks for asking, Laurie. The trip home was absolutely great. (Can’t believe I’m writing that.) There was no turbulence on the plane and I actually took a nap – rare for me. But I did cry when I said goodbye to my mother and she cried too. I vowed to come more often, so I’ll probably go back in January. Part of me thinks I should move back to NY and the other part really, really likes it here in California! Conflicts. Conflicts. As for taking a day off from blogging, I’m a little compulsive in case you haven’t noticed. There’s always something on my mind and it ends up here. But I appreciate your giving me the license to slack off. LOL.

  5. Jane Heller

    Dave, I had a million puns in my head when I was writing the post, but it was late and they were ALL bad. I like your “If loving you is Wang…” Wasn’t that Jerry Butler who sang it? God, we’re old. Ah, yes. Our moms. Mine is still living at home, as you know, but she now has a woman who lives there with her full time, and the arrangement seems to be working out great – a big relief since I’m so far away. When’s your next trip to Boca?

    I can’t envision a lot of teams being interested in Wang, even at a low price, given his injuries and setbacks. But I also don’t see the Yankees doing much to keep him, which saddens me. The only way to see if he’s healthy is to keep him under contract and let him pitch. I just have a feeling he’s done. I hope I’m wrong. Yes, I’m home safe and sound and will get back to work this morning. I’m bored without the Yanks too. I was thinking we should arrange a huge Yankeesfest in NY during the winter where all the Yankees bloggers and commenters could come and hang out. Maybe we could get some “interesting” entertainment. I have a few thoughts and will explore them.

  6. Jane Heller

    You’re right about California, Diane. We have earthquakes, wildfires and mudslides. But other than that, it’s beautiful here. HAHA.

  7. dschaub@gpo.gov

    Ooh, it’s so tempting to come up with some painful pun…like “A Wang in the hand is worth two in the bush”…leagues, that is…how about a song title…”If Loving You Is Wang, I Don’t Want To Be Wright”…as in Jaret?…oh, nevermind…I’d keep ol’ CMW around ’til spring training and give him one more shot, but don’t know nuthin’ about $$ considerations…on a (rare) grown-up note, Laurie makes a powerful point about G’bye Mom…mine’s 91, living alone in an assisted living place in Boca, and she’s so right about what you never know…and yes, my sister ALWAYS cries when she says goodbye, and she’s…well…4 years older than me (i.e. older than dirt). Hey, just glad that you got home safe & sound, Ms. Jane, and what a fine time was had by all…including us…!!

  8. peggy3

    I’m with you Jane…I’d rather take another chance on Wang instead of going after Lackey. It could be a low risk investment with a very high value in the end. Yankees have taken chances on injured players in the past so why not someone who has given his all to the organization and one of our own? The problem is that if the Yankees don’t offer him arbitration I think he becomes a free agent and up for grabs. Since he is coming off an injury riddled year and half he might be had for a very reasonable price even for the lower bracket teams. I just hope it doesn’t come back to the bite the Yankees if they decide not to offer arbitration and try to get him for lower salary with incentives. I guess we shall see but I have always like the Wanger despite his post season results.

    Happy to see you home safe & sound ….I’m so bored already without my Yanks. Is it Spring yet ??

    Go Yankees 2010 !!!!

  9. peggy3


    This blog is going wacko…my post about Wang was the #3 post but it’s at the bottom of the page????

    Diane …Jane’s books are certainly a fun way to pass the time till Spring Training. I am busy with DWTS, SYTYCD and I’m awaiting American Idol. Also like some of the new shows this season….V, Fast Forward, Glee, The Forgotten and The Good Wife as well as some old favorites. I guess that is enough to keep me & the DVR busy until baseball season.

    As far as Wang….I think he’s going to be a surprise (or should I say HOPE). I’d say I’m pulling for the Wanger put I think that could be construed in another way…hahahaha

    Love your idea of a gathering ….keep us informed Miss Jane.

    Go Yankees 2010 !!

  10. thefreak

    I think that Wang will remain in the pin stripes for at least one more year. That is after they non-tender him. Which means his risk is minimal since he will come really cheap.

    We as Yankee fans know what Wang can do. Sometimes players go thu a period where they are always hurt. Then TA DAAAA! Here they come again.

    I’m not worried about his velocity. AS LONG AS he continues to throw a sinker. Its the 87 mph hanging breaking balls I’m worried about.

    Wang is a baby bomber. I think they will stick with him AT LEAST one more year. They still have Kennedy, so why not keep Wang.


  11. dschaub@gpo.gov

    I agree with Peggy3…the postings are vewy wacky 2day. Maybe we’re having too much pun…you know, singing Ace tunes, like ‘How Wang (Has This Been Goin’ On)?” Don McLean used to sing, “A Wang Wang time ago…I remember Chen’s chin music made me smile…” I’d torture you with more, but just got a reminder that I have a Wang meeting starting in 15 minutes…and oh, BTW, that ‘Jerry Butler’ tune was by Luther Ingram (no relation to our old deejay buddy Dan)…I think Jerry sang, “Only the Wang (I mean Strong) Survive!” Must go now (and aren’t you glad)…stop me before I go Wang again!!

  12. mel.tmottbg@gmail.com

    It’s scary how good Wang looks as a cheerleader.

    I’ve always liked Wang. He was able to pitch himself out of so many jams. When his sinker was working, he was not very hittable.

    I’d love to see him back and back on his old form. He could contribute to the team. I’m usually right. But once in a while, I am Wang.


  13. cheshirecat9

    That’s a pretty shakey bridge Jane, have you lost faith in our bull pen after their post season performance?

    I hope they give Wang a chance to come back, but we all know sentimentality doesn’t play a big roll in Cashman’s decisions (nor should it I suppose). He was great for us in the regular season and if he can return to form he would be great in the rotation.

    I see Zack Greinke won the Cy Young. Sounds like he deserves it. I don’t think the Yanks will win any of the individual awards but that does not bother me, we won the trophy that matters most.

  14. Jane Heller

    What can I say about the wackiness of the blog, Peggy. I’ve been complaining about the messed up order of the comments and my responses to no avail. So we’ll just have to muddle through.

    Good points, evilempire. Wang is a baby bomber, and the Yankees should give him a chance to prove he’s healthy and effective. I hope it happens. I just don’t know whether he fits into Cashman’s plans.

    Dave, you’re killing us with the songs. Quit while you’re ahead! LOL.

    And now you’re chiming in with the puns, Melissa! I guess the bottom line is we all hope Wang will be back and that he can reclaim his spot in the rotation. If so, it’ll make things interesting with Joba and Hughes. Does somebody get traded? Hmm.

    Yes, he was hurt, Paul. But I just have a feeling there’s been a loss of faith in him within the organization. I hope I’m wrong.

    That bridge is shaky on purpose, cheshirecat! You caught that one. LOL. I was, indeed, thinking of the postseason when I chose it. Congrats to Greinke. Poor CC didn’t even make it into the top three. But you’re right: we got the big piece of hardware. And I’m not giving up on the other awards just yet.

  15. Jane Heller

    Diane and Peggy, you guys are TV watchers and I’m so out of the loop. I used to watch “Desperate Housewives” and “Grey’s Anatomy” but they got dumped as soon as baseball started last spring and I never picked them up again. Now I watch CNN and the Food Network and that’s about it. (I’m addicted to “Iron Chef” and “Chopped.”)

  16. diane.anziano@gmail.com

    Also love the dancing programs and Glee is my new favorite tv show, Peggy. I also just started watching Castle — its another good one. 30 Rock and Community are also hysterical as is Parks and Recreation. But I’d trade them in (ok, I’d DVR them) in a second if I could see our Yankees again. Later.

  17. peggy3


    I have to DVR a lot of the shows then watch when I have available time (staying up late at night). I do confess to loving TV and when the Yankee games aren’t on I have a lot more time to watch especially during the week when I’m home at night. I find it relaxing to get away to fantasyland after working all day. Weekends are usually busy and not as much time to watch beside the fact many of the shows I like are during the week so when I do have weekend time …I catch up on DVR’d shows.

    Diane …I like Castle too. Love the chemistry between the
    two main characters and between the Dad/daughter. Susan Sullivan is a hoot as the his Mom too.

    Next Monday will be a premiere showing at the Ziegfield Theater of the 27th World Championship. If you attend you get the DVD too. I’m going with some friends. I can’t wait to RELIVE it on the big screen. Should be fun …

    Go Yankees 2010 !!!

  18. raysrenegade

    I actually think he would be a perfect long reliever for the Yankees in 2010.
    It would give both the team and Wang time to amp up the confidence while getting him ready in case of an injury or a possible chance to shine again within the rotation.
    He really did not look like the same pitcher on the mound in 2009. And not from a pitcher perspective either. He just looked a bit beaten even before the first pitch.
    Pop him in the Bullpen, gain the big confidence needed to survive in the AL East, then send him out to beat people every 5 days later in the season.
    But the price has to be right……….or he might be in a Mariner’s jersey by February ( just a hunch).

    Rays Renegade


  19. Jane Heller

    This is so bizarre how my responses are showing up before the comments. Don’t ask me why. GRRRRRR.

    I remember when Wang was a Cy Young contender, Babu. How great would it be if he could pick up where he left off back then? He would give our rotation such depth.

    Not a bad idea, Renegade. He’ll need a confidence boost for sure, and maybe putting him in the pen is the way to give him one. Funny that you mention the Mariners, since that’s where people keep saying Matsui will end up.

  20. Jane Heller

    My gut tells me the same thing, denveryanksfan. But I still think the Yankees should let Wang have a shot, either in the bullpen or the rotation. If he can’t recapture his old magic, bye bye.

  21. kaisersoser

    It would be a terrible mistake to give up on Ching Ming Wang.

    No one should give up on a proven winner, unless he is physically unable to achieve full fitness.

    In my opinion, Wang deserves a full year of another chance with the Yanks. Last year was clearly an aberation, and it happens to the best of us. I believe he is going to bounce back in 2010, and it will be a mistake for the Yankees to get in his way, or trade him in 2010.

  22. Jane Heller

    Kaiser, if the Yankees do give up on Wang, I think it’ll be because he lacks more than one effective pitch, not because he was injured. Just a hunch, but I have a feeling they’re down on him. Personally, I’d love to see him bounce back, but we’ll see.

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