Taiwanese pitcher Wang Chien-ming (王建民), who won 55 games over five years for the New York Yankees through 2009, has signed a new contract with the Major League Baseball club.
The Yankees announced on Saturday that they have signed Wang, who turns 33 this week, to a minor-league contract, a move that comes after two strong outings from the ace for Taiwan in the recent World Baseball Classic.
Tainan-born Wang threw six shutout innings in a first-round victory over Australia and six more shutout innings against Japan in a 4-3 second-round defeat.
He would need to perform well for Yankees developmental clubs before being elevated to New York.
According to the Yankees, the minor league contract offers a monthly salary of US$30,000, which would increase to an annual figure of US$2.5 million if he is signed into a major league contract. The contract also comes with a performance bonus clause, which will enable Wang to add to his earnings if things go well.
If Wang manages five starts in major league games he stands to make an extra US$150,000, with further bonuses of the same amount for every five starts after that, rising to US$30,000 a game if he makes between 25 and 30 starts.
Should Wang start in more than 30 major league games he stands to earn an extra US$1.2 million over his salary. In the 2006 and 2007 seasons, he started in 33 and 30 games respectively.
There is also a US$50,000 bonus for every five innings he pitches over the 30th inning, going up to US$100,000 for every five innings over 70.
That means he could glean an innings bonus of US$1 million if he pitches more than 95 innings.
In his MLB rookie season he pitched 116.1 innings in a single season, completing 218 innings in 2006 and 199 in 2007.
If Wang pitches 95 innings in 30 MLB games this year he will earn an extra US$2.2 million on top of his base salary.
After joining the Yankees in 2005, Wang won 19 games in both 2006 and 2007 before suffering a foot injury while running the bases in the 2008 campaign and hip and shoulder injuries that hampered him in 2009.
Wang missed the 2010 season while recovering from shoulder surgery and pitched for Washington over the past two years, going 6-6 with a 4.94 earned-run average in 21 games for the Nationals until becoming a free agent.
In 109 games with the Yankees, Wang is 55-26 with a 4.16 earned-run average.
US media on Saturday were positive about the Yankees’ re-signing of Wang.
Bleacher Report columnist Doug Rush said the contract with Wang could add more pitching depth and insurance to the Yankees’ rotation.
Rush said that if Wang finds his old form with his powerful sinker, he was likely 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’ recovery from a back injury and C.C. Sabathia’s recent elbow surgery.