Wednesday, February 17, 2010

3 reasons to like the Chien-Ming Wang signing

Chien-Ming Wang is coming to town. The two-time 19 game winner signed with the Nats and passed his physical yesterday. While he is coming off of two years of injuries, he's still young (30 in March) and fairly cheap ($2 mil salary plus incentives). I like the deal for 3 reasons:

  1. He's under team control through 2011. Just like Matt Capps, the Nationals own Wang's rights for two seasons even if each player's contract is technically only for one. It's the ultimate team option; if either player underachieves or if the Nats just don't want to pay them, they can non-tender them next offseason without having to pay a buyout.
  2. When he's healthy, he's a Mike Rizzo-style ace. He's not going to strike a lot of guys out (4.16 K/9 over his career), instead relying on ground ball outs. While it may be scary to add another ground ball pitcher with Adam Dunn playing in the infield, I think it's the right kind of pitcher to add, considering 3 of the 5 NL East teams play in parks that allow more HR than the league average (FLA, NYM and PHI). If he works out the kinks with his sinker (far from a guarantee), the Nats have themselves the kind of pitcher Rizzo likes to sign.
  3. Taiwanese people (both in Taiwan and Taiwanese-Americans) adore Wang, to the point where he was listed in 2007's edition of the Time 100. Money quote: "Whenever he pitches, whether it's a live telecast or a rerun, Taiwan ditches its political woes and personal cares to huddle in the most unlikely places—from bars to beauty parlors to boardrooms—to cheer Chien-Ming." Let's just say, we have a lot more Nationals fans in Taiwan now. And even though Taiwan isn't a large nation (just over 23 million residents), expanding the Nationals brand worldwide is very important to the team.

1 comment:

  1. I'm totally with you on this. Folks have to keep in mind as well that this isn't a yes/no proposition- either he is back to his 19-win form or he has to hit the road. Say he is good enough to provide 12 wins and whatever secondary stats should go with such a result- wouldn't that still be better than what the Nats have had recently?


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