Chien-Ming Wang is still out on the free agent market in hopes of getting a major league deal. While he may have to eventually lower his expectations, there’s a chance that one of his former teams will welcome him back into the fold.
According to George A. King III of the New York Post, the Yankees will send scouts to watch Wang pitch for Taiwan during the upcoming World Baseball Classic. While Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told King that he hasn’t had contact with Wang’s representatives, this would seem to indicate that they have some level of interest.
Of course, Wang began his career with the Yankees and posted a 55-26 record and a 4.16 ERA over five seasons with the club prior to having shoulder surgery in 2009. He has struggled to get his career back on track since the procedure, posting a 4.04 ERA in 11 starts with the Nationals in 2011 and a 6.68 ERA and 15/15 K/BB ratio over 32 1/3 innings last season.
Yankees spring pitching instructor Billy Connors came away impressed by a recent bullpen session by Wang, but since the club already has a full starting rotation, he might find a better opportunity elsewhere. Failing that, the Yankees would surely welcome him as depth at the Triple-A level.
MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosh reports that the Cardinals are shutting down pitcher Carlos Martínez from throwing for two weeks because his shoulder strength isn’t where it should have been at this point. Langosch added that an MRI showed no structural damage in Martínez’s right shoulder.
Interestingly, president of baseball operations John Mozeliak didn’t sound too happy with Martínez offseason training regimen. Per Mark Saxon of The Athletic, Mozeliak said, “Obviously, there’s a history with Carlos’ shoulder and it would be probably in everybody’s best interest if he maintained a constant or perpetual approach to that program.”
Martínez, 27, battled oblique and shoulder injuries last year. He accrued just 118 2/3 innings, making just 18 starts. He was moved to the bullpen when he returned from the disabled list in August and finished out the season in that role. Still, Martínez managed a 3.11 ERA with 117 strikeouts and 60 walks.
Langosch reported last week that the Cardinals were considering using Martínez in relief again in 2019. The latest news may push the Cardinals to indeed use Martínez out of the bullpen once again. He will be reevaluated in early March, but there is a chance he won’t be ready for Opening Day.