Former Yankees Chien-Ming Wang and Johnny Damon have been making contract news lately, but in different directions. Damon is still unemployed, and while it's rumored that the Braves have sent him an offer and that he's been coveting the Tigers, it is also said that he continues to hold out for a two-year deal that may never come. Wang, on the other hand, may have a team shortly, probably landing with the Nationals, but also perhaps the Dodgers. The details of Wang's pending deal are not being discussed (as far as I'm aware) but I'll go out on a limb and project that it will be for one year, and not a lot of money.
It's amusing to see that Wang, not Damon, is close to having a new home. At season's end, the day after the World Series, any Yankee fan would have predicted the opposite. Damon had completed a 126 OPS+ season (his best ever) and broke out of a slump in the ALDS to become a major contributor in the World Series. Wang, on the other hand ... well he was just awful. He started the season posting numbers so bad they belonged in a comic book (I was at that 22-4 game! Editor's note: Me too.) before going back on the DL. Just when he was regaining his form, he hurt his shoulder, an injury that scares many teams away from young pitchers.
Wang can be an amazing pitcher when he's healthy, which is probably a large part of why he is attracting interest. Teams can always use another pitcher (except the Yankees, who have like nine possible starters), so Wang is a logical gamble. If he regains even some of his 2008 and earlier form then any team that signs Wang wins big.
The way these two players have comported themselves are also factors in the way their offseasons are playing out. Johnny Damon was supposed to remain in pinstripes. The team wanted him. He wanted them. But greed is not good, no matter what Michael Douglas says. Fans may instinctively blame Damon's agent, Dracula ... sorry, Scott Boras, but Johnny's a big boy. It's his responsibility to know when his agent understands what's best for him, or not. Damon wanted another dumptruck full of money. His ego and greed are the reason he's still unsigned. Damon is too good of a player to remain out of baseball in 2010, but Yankee fans everywhere are curious to see what deal the outfielder eventually signs.
Wang, on the other hand, announced he was just going to go about his business. He didn't make a fuss when the Yankees parted ways with him. He didn't rush to try to get another contract. Instead, he said he was going to focus on his rehab, and wait and see. As a result, teams seem to be coming to him. Wanting to play professional baseball, and not greed, appears to motivate him. I'll be rooting for him to regain his form in the NL.