Dec 13, 2009, 11:14 AM EDT
Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan
said Chien-Ming Wang, who was non-tendered by the Yankees on Saturday,
intrigues him as a free agent, reports Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Wang likely won’t be able to
contribute until next May as he recovers from shoulder surgery, and he
hasn’t pitched a full season since 2007, but when his sinker is on,
Wang is one of the most dominant wormkillers in the game (60.1% career
groundball rate, though it has declined over the past two seasons).
That Duncan sees an opportunity to right Wang shouldn’t surprise anyone.
The Cardinals are currently preparing themselves for life after free agent Joel Pineiro. Under the
tutelage of Duncan, the 31-year-old right-hander was 15-12 with a 3.49
ERA and 1.14 WHIP in ’09, posting a career-best 60.5% groundball rate.
Pineiro didn’t just enjoy his best professional season in 2009, he was
a completely reformed pitcher, leading the majors with 448
groundballs and the National League with 29 double-play grounders. With
Brad Penny already under contract, there’s a strong possibility that
Pineiro signs a lucrative multi-year contract elsewhere.
Wang, who has a more-established
track record as a groundball pitcher, would be a cheap alternative to
Pineiro, even if he won’t contribute immediately. Common thinking is
that Wang will join Joe Torre in Los Angeles, but if he truly wants to
resurrect his career, St. Louis may be his best choice.
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