Chien-Ming Wang Returns to Nationals
That seems to be the operating principle for the Washington Nationals when it comes to Chien-Ming Wang. The Nats signed Wang to a $2 million contract before the 2010 season got under way, but saw no return on their investment when the former Yankees starter was unable to pitch a single inning for them because of offseason shoulder surgery. They must have seen something they liked, however, because they signed him for another go-round in 2011, the team announced Thursday night.
Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com reported Wang will receive a base salary of $1 million and could add $4 million more through incentives. One would imagine that the Nationals feel like some portion of what they already spent should serve as a down payment on a deal that's a little longer on incentives this time around.
Wang pitched five innings for the Nationals' instructional league team this fall without reporting any physical setbacks. That's a good sign, although it's a long way from the instructional league to a big league mound. Wang hasn't pitched well and stayed healthy on one of those since 2007 when he won 19 games with a 3.70 ERA for the Yankees. He got strafed twice by the Indians in the playoffs that year, something that foreshadowed what was to come.
His 2008 season was cut short when he broke his foot while running the bases against the Astros, but he'd seen a pretty sharp drop in effectiveness over his 15 starts before getting hurt. Then came 2009, an abject disaster that ended after 42 innings, a 9.64 ERA and the loss of his spot with the Yankees.
Still, he's a reasonable enough bet to bounce back if healthy and the Nationals certainly don't have a slew of top-notch rotation options at their disposal.