ESPN.com is reporting that the Yankees may be considering non-tendering Chien Ming Wang. Non-tendering is simply when you opt to not offer a contract to an arbitration eligible player. This leads me into my next point: if he wouldn’t be terribly expensive, Wang would be a great fit for the new look Minnesota Twins.
When the Twins traded Carlos Gomez for JJ Hardy they traded in a great outfield for a great infield. That would be all well and good if their pitching staff wasn’t stacked with flyball pitchers. Wang has never been a big strikeout guy (his career high is 104 in 2007), but at his best he can get a ton of ground balls. His career rate is 60.1%, and that’s even when you factor in a couple down years due to the injury he suffered in Houston running the bases (yet another reason why the DH is a good thing). Wang throws his fastball roughly 80% of the time, and before his injury it was over a +10 run pitch.
As I said before, Wang doesn’t miss a lot of bats (he has a 86% contact rate and a 92% rate when the pitch is in the zone), but due to his elite ground ball levels and the fact that the Twins are likely to have an infield of JJ Hardy (career 11.2 UZR/150 at SS), Nick Punto (career 19.9 at 3rd, 3.9 at 2nd), and a good fielding free agent at either 3rd or 2nd, be it Joe Crede, Adrian Beltre, Pedro Feliz, Orlando Hudson, etc. The Twins will be able to utilize Wang’s full talents.
One thing is for sure, he’ll like having Hardy and Punto field grounders much more than he enjoyed Derek Jeter fielding them.