The story was first reported in a tweet by CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman:
#yankees agree to terms w/ wang— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) March 23, 2013
CBSSports.com’s Mike Axisa confirmed the report and indicated his belief that the contract was a minor league deal.
The 33-year-old Wang is a native of Taiwan. His first major league team was the Yankees, who signed him as an amateur free agent in 2000.
He made his major league debut in 2005, and won 19 games in both 2006 and 2007.
His success was short-lived, as he missed more than half of each of the 2008 and 2009 seasons because of nagging injuries to his feet and hips.
Wang signed with the Washington Nationals in 2010, but missed the entire season because of a shoulder injury.
He has pitched sparingly the past two years because of his inability to stay healthy or regain his former dominance.
Wang’s best season was in 2006, when he went 19-6 with a 3.63 ERA in 34 games (33 starts) and finished second in American League Cy Young voting behind the Minnesota Twins’ Johan Santana.
He struggled in 10 games (five starts) with the Nationals last year, posting just a 2-3 record and 6.68 ERA.
He has a career record of 61-32 with a 4.26 ERA in seven major league seasons.
Wang’s repertoire is highlighted by a heavy sinker that induces a lot of ground balls. He has allowed only a total of 54 home runs during his 756.1 career innings. By comparison, Cincinnati Reds’ right-hander Bronson Arroyo gave up 46 home runs in just 199 innings in 2011.
The Yankees decided to give Wang another shot after he pitched 12 shutout innings for Chinese Tapei in this year’s World Baseball Classic.
He was scouted heavily by a number of teams during the tournament but ultimately went to the Yankee’s spring training complex for a tryout that led to his signing.
With five starters (C.C. Sabathia, Andy Pettitte, Hiroki Kuroda, Phil Hughes and Ivan Nova) slotted for the major league staff, Wang will likely provide depth by starting the season in Triple-A. If he can prove his WBC was no fluke, he could give New York good value this year if they need another starter.
Wang is a long way from his former glory as the Yankees’ ace, but he and the team hope this reunion can help recapture his effectiveness and finish his career on a more positive note.
Statistics via Baseball-Reference