Chien-Ming Wang is pitching at Triple-A for the Yankees, but he has the ability to opt out of the minor-league contract at the end of every month and Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports that the Orioles “are one of several teams that have kept tabs” on him.
Wang has started eight games at Triple-A with a 2.65 ERA, but he’s managed just 23 strikeouts in 51 innings while allowing opponents to hit .260.
And that’s basically been Wang’s story since coming back from injury. He still throws strikes and gets plenty of ground balls, but rarely misses any bats and is too hittable in general. Still, as the season progresses and more teams need rotation reinforcements he’d make sense as an option if the Yankees aren’t interested in a call-up.
Remember Manny Banuelos? He was once a top pitching prospect for the Yankees and then, apparently disappeared from the face of the earth. Or at least it felt like it. Now he’s in the news, however, as the Dodgers have signed him to a minor league contract.
OK, Banuelos didn’t disappear. He was traded to the Braves in 2015, had a cup of coffee with them, pitching pretty ineffectively in seven big league games, was released by Atlanta in the middle of 2016 and then latched on with the Angels. This past season he posted a 4.93 ERA over 95 innings while being used mostly as a reliever at Triple-A Salt Lake.
Banuelos pitched in the Future’s Game in 2009 and was a star in the Arizona Fall League in 2010. He was a top-50 prospect heading into 2011 before falling to Tommy John surgery in 2012. With Atlanta he suffered some bone spur problems and then some elbow issues that never resulted in surgery but which never subsided enough for him to fulfill his potential either. He suffered injuries. A lot of pitchers do.
It’s unrealistic to think that Banuelos will fulfill the promise he had six years ago, but he’s worth a minor league deal to see if the 26-year-old can at least be a serviceable reliever.