NEW YORK–Taiwanese baseball pitcher Chien-Ming Wang has returned to his former team, the New York Yankees, as part of a minor league contract, the team’s official website reported Saturday.
Displaying a video clip highlighting Wang’s performance in the World Baseball Classic (WBC) on its website, the Yankees said in an announcement that Wang pitched 12 scoreless innings for Taiwan in the WBC earlier this month.
The 32-year-old right-hander, who was released last year by the Washington Nationals, had earned a 55-26 record with a 4.16 ERA in five seasons with the Yankees between 2005 and 2009.
Wang posted 19 wins in consecutive seasons, but suffered a foot injury in 2008 from which he never fully recovered before leaving the team. Yankees Wise: US media U.S. media on Saturday described the Yankees’ re-signing of Wang as a great decision after the Yankees announced its latest minor league deal with the former ace.
Bleacher Report columnist Doug Rush said the contract with Wang could add more pitching depth and insurance to the rotation of the Yankees, the team for which he enjoyed the highlight of his baseball career.
Rush said that if Wang, who will turn 33 March 31, finds his old form with his powerful sinker, he will be able to get called up to the majors or pitch as a long reliever.
“Think of Wang as an ‘ace in the hole’ that the Yankees have in waiting,” the report said.
The Baseball News Source echoed the idea, saying that the current starting lineup for the Yankees faces health concerns, including Phil Hughes’ recovering from a back injury, and C.C. Sabathia, who recently had elbow surgery.
Wang signed the one-year contract following the 2013 World Baseball Classic, in which he threw six shutout innings for Taiwan in the team’s opening game against Australia, and another six scoreless innings against Japan in the second round.
Wang’s flawless performance drew the attention of scouts from several major league clubs, Wang’s agent said. He eventually decided to accept the minor league deal offered by his former team.
According to the contract, Wang’s monthly salary in the minor league will be US$30,000. He will receive an annual salary of US$2.5 million if he is promoted to the majors.
In addition, the right-hander could make up to US$2.2 million in incentives based on the number of starts and innings pitched.
The contract also includes an opt-out clause, saying that Wang could choose to become a free agent if he is not put into the 25-man roster prior to April 30, May 31, June 30 and Aug. 10 and 31.
During the 2005-2009 seasons, he went 55-26 in 109 outings with an earned run average of 4.16 with the Yankees, including two back-to-back 19 wins in 2006 and 2007. He then sustained a foot injury in 2008, and hip and shoulder woes in 2009.
He spent the past three years with the Washington Nationals but sat out the 2010 season because he was recovering from shoulder surgery.
Before being released by the Nationals last year, he appeared in only 10 games for the team and finished with a 2-3 record.