The Yankees parted ways with Johnny Damon weeks ago, but it wasn’t until they signed Randy Winn that fans gave up hope that they might get him back.
It’s going to be the same with free agent pitcher Chien-Ming Wang. Sure, it’s been weeks since the Yankees officially non-tendered Wang making him a free agent, but until he signs with another team fans will hold out hope that he will somehow return. He won’t, but that won’t stop the fans from hoping.
Not that holding out hope is wrong, but you should probably realize now that he’s not going to return and begin to accept that. The signing of Winn should help you realize that. In the past $4 million was nothing to the Yankees, this offseason, because of their budget, $4 million is making a big difference.
$4 million was the reason the Yankees gave up on retaining Damon. The Yankees had a $2 million budget and stuck to it without really getting into the bidding for him. Now he’s left to sign a contract with a team looking to get a bargain with Damon and will likely sign for around $6-$8 million.
$4 million was also the reason why the Yankees non-tendered Wang. See Wang made $5 million last year and because he is arbitration eligible the least he could be offered was $4 million. So the Yankees non-tendered him. They absolutely had interest to keep him at the time, but Ben Sheets showed that just because a pitcher missed most of 2009, or all in Sheets’ case, that won’t keep teams, even fiscally responsible teams like Oakland, from bidding top dollar for their services.
Don’t believe me? Teams are lining up right now to bid on Wang. His agent Alan Nero told Jayson Stark of ESPN that “four or five teams” are aggressively pursuing Wang including the Mets, Dodgers, and Cardinals. When it once looked like he might wait until May to sign a contract, teams have become so interested that he might be with a team by spring training.
“Our plan was to get him 100 percent healthy, so there was no risk on the team’s part,” Nero said. “And that’s still our plan, and we’re following it. But we didn’t expect teams to be coming forward with offers, and that’s what’s happening.”
With so much interest in Wang, you’d better start believing that he’s going to sign somewhere else. You might even be upset because as a Yankee fan, what’s $4 million? But that shouldn’t stop you from realizing that Randy Winn is going to play for the Yankees next year and not Johnny Damon.
The Yankees have a budget and for good or bad, they are sticking to it. Good bye Chien-Ming Wang.