Update On Wei-Chung Wang and His Chance To Make Brewers

In December, the Pittsburgh Pirates lost left-handed pitcher Wei-Chung Wang in the Rule V draft to the Milwaukee Brewers. At the time, it seemed unlikely he would stick. He had one season of minor league experience and that was in the Gulf Coast League. Wang needed Tommy John surgery and the Pirates realized that after he signed, voided his contract and resigned him to a second deal. When they did that, it meant that Wang would be eligible for the Rule V draft after just one season.

No decision has been made on Wei-Chung Wang yet.

No decision has been made on Wei-Chung Wang yet.

Wang has made it to the end of the Brewers camp and two former Pittsburgh Pirates pitchers might be the reason he doesn’t stick with the Brewers. We might know by Tuesday at noon whether Wang will stick with the Brewers for Opening Day. Zach Duke has pitched well during Spring Training and he has an option in his contract that calls for him to be told whether he makes the team by noon on Tuesday.

Duke has options if he doesn’t make the team. He can ask for his release, or he can accept a minor league assignment, which has an opt out clause on June 1st if he isn’t in the majors by then. The one thing attached to the latter, is that they have to give him a $100,000 bonus to send him to the minors. If they decided to do that and keep Wang, then it actually costs them $125,000, because they will lose all $50,000 it costs for a Rule V draft pick. If they put Wang on waivers(and another team picks him up) or they return him to the Pirates, then the Brewers get half of the Rule V cost back.

Keeping Duke and Wang would give them three lefties in the bullpen, to go along with Will Smith, who the Brewers traded outfielder Norichika Aoki to get in December. Right now the Brewers have four guys battling for the last three spots, with right-handers Tyler Thornburg and Rob Wooten competing for spots as well.

The other former Pirates pitcher that might factor into the Brewers decision is Tom Gorzelanny, who had shoulder surgery and isn’t due back for a couple weeks. When Gorzelanny comes back from the disabled list, he will take one of the lefty spots in the bullpen. He is signed for $2,950,000 this year and pitched well as a reliever/starter for the Brewers last year, so his spot is safe once he returns.

The Brewers have an interesting decision if they want to keep the 21-year-old Wei-Chung Wang, who has pitched well in Spring Training this year, not allowing any runs until his last game. Wang went 2.2 innings on Thursday, allowing three runs on five hits. He has not walked a batter in 11 innings. Besides keeping him and putting him on waivers, the Brewers could also work out a trade with the Pirates to keep Wang. There are still a lot of options, but we should have a better idea of what is going on very soon.

John Dreker

Author: John Dreker

John was born in Kearny, NJ, hometown of the 2B for the Pirates 1909 World Championship team, Dots Miller. In fact they have some of the same relatives in common, so it was only natural for him to become a lifelong Pirates fan. Before joining Pirates Prospects in July 2010, John had written numerous articles on the history of baseball while also releasing his own book and co-authoring another on the history of the game. He writes a weekly article on Pirates history for the site, has already interviewed many of the current minor leaguers with many more on the way and follows the foreign minor league teams very closely for the site. John also provides in person game reports of the West Virginia Power and Altoona Curve.

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  • Lee Young

    Almost makes you love Duke and Gonzo after all.

    I am still holding out for Wang/Chang in Indy or Pittsburgh (or both).

  • http://www.finner.smugmug.com finner68

    I caught Wang vs. the Reds on MLB network. He looked good. Be nice to get him back.

    • John Dreker

      I saw that game too, needed eight pitches to get four outs. Only bad thing you could say is that they had no trouble putting the ball in play against him and the last three outs were all fly balls to center field. You would rather see them not make decent contact and keep the ball on the ground, but if that’s the worst thing you can say about his outing against the regulars in the Reds lineup, then that’s not bad. That was the first time he was facing regulars too, all of his other appearances were against the backups. His next outing was one IP against the White Sox backups, allowed one hit, then he made the start mentioned above. The start was against a Rockies lineup with mostly backups, so that Reds outing was the only one where he was facing regulars each AB and he did good