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Chien-Ming Wang back to Nationals for $4 million

Nov 3, 2011, 6:15 PM EDT

Chien-Ming Wang Getty Images

The Nationals and right-hander Chien-Ming Wang have agreed to terms on a deal worth $4 million, pending a physical, says CSN Washington’s Mark Zuckerman.

It’s a larger-than-anticipated guarantee for the sinkerballer, who has made all of 20 starts the last three years. The contract will include incentives based on games started.

After pitching half-seasons in 2008 and 2009 and missing all of 2010 due to shoulder woes, Wang returned in the second half of 2011 to go 4-3 with a 4.04 ERA in 11 starts with the Nationals. He struck out just 25 in 62 1/3 innings during that span, but even though his velocity was down, his groundball rate was still among the best in the league. 53 percent of the balls hit against him were kept on the ground. For comparison’s sake, only 11 of the 94 pitchers to qualify for the ERA title did better, with Jake Westbrook leading the majors at 59 percent.

Wang will be part of a Nationals rotation also certain to include Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann. John Lannan would be another given unless he’s traded, which would be a possibility if the Nationals sign another free-agent starter this winter. Ross Detwiler has to be the current favorite among the in-house candidates to round out the group.

  1. natstowngreg - Nov 3, 2011 at 6:47 PM

    Yeah, $4 million seems a little high, but it’s just one year with incentives, so the risk doesn’t seem that big. With a good 2012, he could price himself out of the Nats’ plans, but I’d enjoy watching him do it.

    Strasburg (R; innings-limited)
    Zimmermann (R)
    TBD (?)
    Lannan (L)
    Wang (R)
    Detwiler (L)/Peacock (R)/Milone (L)

    Lannan or Detwiler could indeed be trade bait. If Davey thinks Gorzelanny can fill Davey’s desire for a lefty long reliever, one of them could be spared. Peacock could be the righty long reliever or be on stand-by at Syracuse. That would leave Milone at Syracuse, to fill in for one of the lefties.

    If Rizzo can get another starter better than Wang or Lannan, this could set up nicely.

    • sumerduckman - Nov 4, 2011 at 10:24 AM

      Yep, the Nats need a dependable, veteran horse to anchor the pitching staff. All of the current pitchers are either coming off various surgeries, young, both or head cases ( Lannon).

      If Mr. Rizzo finds a good arm, one more big bat and some decent bench guys, no one is going to want to play DC. Nats Stadium would certainly look ( and sound) like it did on this years’ last home game more often, which would be a lot of fun.

  2. Francisco (FC) - Nov 3, 2011 at 7:42 PM

    Hey how about that? The Nats got some Wang!

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