By Evan Brunell
The Nationals have agreed to a deal in principle with starter Chien-Ming Wang, SI.com's Jon Heyman reports.
Wang has been with Washington for the last two seasons but only made his Nats debut in late July after recovering from shoulder problems that jettisoned him from the Yankees. The groundball artist made 11 starts and walked away with a 4.04 ERA in 62 1/3 innings. While his strikeout numbers have always been low, the fact he only punched out 25 is cause for concern. On the bright side, he allowed a skimpy 13 walks, which is a big reason for his success.
Now that the 31-year-old will presumably enter spring training healthy, he could enjoy a productive season. When right, Wang lets hitters beat themselves by either striking them out just enough to keep them honest or forcing batters to beat the ball in the ground. To that extent, he needs a strong infield defense behind him to get outs, and Washington's D is strong enough. What will be interesting to monitor is his fastball velocity. With a full offseason to rest and his shoulder problems finally behind him, can he tick his average fastball back up to 92 mph? That would be enough to address concerns about his long-term viability, even if he loses some control in ratcheting up the velocity. Many pitchers tend to need time to see their velocity recover after such major surgery and time away from the majors.
Wang figures to slot behind Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann and John Lannan in the rotation, leaving just one spot available for competition. Wang won't just be handed a spot, though, even though he's the favorite to secure a spot in the rotation.
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Nationals re-sign Chien-Ming Wang
Posted on: November 2, 2011 6:49 pm
Edited on: November 2, 2011 7:00 pm