Chien-Ming Wang loses to Yankees in salary arbitration

Updated: February 15, 2008, 7:31 PM ET
Associated Press

TAMPA, Fla. -- Chien-Ming Wang lost his salary arbitration case against the New York Yankees on Friday and will earn $4 million instead of his request for $4.6 million.

Thursday's hearing was the first for the Yankees since Mariano Rivera lost in 2000. The decision left the Yankees' payroll at a major league-high $206.4 million for 22 signed players.

"He's a special talent. It's just, really, about where he slots in a market of special players as a first-time eligible," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. "Based on where the market is ... there was really no room to go any higher than 4. It would have been out-of-market."

Wang went 19-7 with a 3.70 ERA last year, his second straight season with 19 wins, but lost twice as the Cleveland Indians eliminated the Yankees in the first round of the playoffs. He made $489,500.

Even with the loss, Wang will earn the second-highest salary for a pitcher eligible for arbitration for the first time, trailing only the $4.35 million Dontrelle Willis received under an agreement with Florida in 2006.

"The Yankees only go to arbitration when we think the player and agent's demand is over the proper market," team president Randy Levine said in a statement. "This should not be viewed as `a loss' for Chien-Ming Wang. He is a valuable member of our team and we felt that we had reflected this in our filing number."

The case was decided by arbitrators Stephen Goldberg, Jack Clarke and Christine Knowlton.

Wang's agent, Alan Nero, said his side tried to impress on the arbitration panel the pitcher's value to the Yankees and Major League Baseball in expanding the market for the team and the sport in Taiwan.

"The case did focus around Willis," Nero said. "The whole case should have not been about Willis because our midpoint was below Willis."

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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