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A crowd for CMW

media1A.JPG

OK, so the Chien-Ming Wang press conference is over. The fishwrap story (posted here later this afternoon) will contain greater detail, but here are the quick-hit observations. First of all, CMW attracts plenty of attention. Roughly twenty media members representing Taiwan and China were in attendance, and let me tell 'ya, it's not easy work traveling halfway across the world for a 20-minute press and perhaps a dinner at Smokey Bones. They asked a lot of questions about his desire and his condition, and Wang pretty much answered that his desire is intense and his condition is good. Which means that maybe he's pitching in Washington by May.

Wang agreed earlier in the week to a one-year, $2 million deal with the Nats (the contract is heavily loaded with incentives), but this was his formal introduction. And it was also something of a goodbye.

See, after today, Wang, still rehabbing from July 2009 shoulder surgery, will return to the Fischer Sports Physical Therapy center in Phoenix, Ariz. According to GM Mike Rizzo, Wang will perform five or six hours of rehab daily. March 8, he'll travel back to Viera, Fla., to join the Nats in spring training. The Nats hope that Wang can debut (or re-debut) in the big leagues sometime between May 1 and June 1.

Before signing Wang, Washington had three scouts -- Jay Robertson, Phil Rizzo and Ron Schueller -- watch the righty in Arizona. "The last time they saw him pitch he threw for 15 minutes, about 70 pitches," Mike Rizzo said. "He started at about 120 feet and he went down to 60-feet, six inches. That was on flat ground."

But within the next 2-1/2 weeks, Wang should begin throwing off a mound.

"Of course my No. 1 goal would be to return to be among the best pitchers in Major League Baseball," Wang said through translator Alan Chang, "and I will do everything possible to make myself strong again."

Just a few final quotes before I head to lunch.

Rizzo on his hopes for CMW: "Well if he throws as he's capable of in the past, then we've got ourselves a front-of-the-rotation guy. Not only for two-thirds of this season, but we control the player. That is something we're really, really excited about, and that's the main reason we went after him so hard, is because he's a 29-year-old pitcher who can grow with the organization. Just a front-of-the-line character guy that's won 19 games in the toughest atmosphere for a pitcher in baseball. So we feel like the risk-reward was on our side, and combined with the medical reports we got... it was something I thought we really needed to do."

Agent Alan Nero: "When Chien-Ming became available, the first team we heard from was the Nationals. And shortly after that we started hearing from other teams. There was a total of 15 teams that showed interest right from the beginning. But the process was pretty laborious. Everybody had to do their homework: Who had to see him throw? Who had to have their doctor examine him? You know, who had to study his medical records? So, in the end, we ended up with three offers. But the Nationals were the most sincere, they were the most aggressive, they were ahead of the pack. They did all of their due diligence and were very confident along the way... And any time you make a decision -- this was a big decision for Chien-Ming -- the spirit of it matters. It's kind of like dating. You don't enter into a relationship unless you feel real good about it... The Nationals seemed to care the most and they seemed to want him the most."

By Chico Harlan  |  February 19, 2010; 1:53 PM ET
 
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Next: Day One notes

Comments

Good. About time. I'm starting to feel fuzzy all over. Hope I still feel that way come June.

Posted by: dovelevine | February 19, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

World Series 2010

Posted by: Cartaldo | February 19, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

I also want to mention that today at the office I spent most of the day perusing the internet for a Nats 18x18 car window decal, which would have been both a bold and awesome statement, but it was sold out everywhere!! So pissed...had to settle for an 8x8 instead, perhaps it was a sign from the gods that I needed to have a more toned down look...or just a test of my willingness.

Posted by: Cartaldo | February 19, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

"Of course my No. 1 goal would be to return to the be among the best pitchers in Major League Baseball," Wang said through translator Alan Chang, "and I will do everything possible to make himself strong again."
--------

Uhh, so who is responsible for the typo? The interpreter or the transcriber? :-)

Posted by: Juan-John1 | February 19, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Reposted, sorry.
---------------------------
I'm not bagging on Lannan, he's a good pitcher, I just think he is a bit hyped around here (thank you Tracee Hamilton). Just getting outs and a "chance" to win doesn't seem like a consensus answer for a #2. I would think you would want your #2 to get the wins. And actually, does Lannan really give that good of a chance? He averages ~ 6 innings a start (Almost exactly 6 innings if you take out his two complete games). And remember this is an average and Lannan is not one to get blown out, which means he had a bunch of 5 inning and some 7 inning performances. Regardless, even if it was exactly 6 innings every night, bullpens usually don't have good 7th inning pitchers. If he consistently went deeper he would win more and hence give a better chance. Which is what I would expect from an "Ace" or #2.

Posted by: lpatashn | February 19, 2010 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: lpatashn | February 19, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

So this is not the first (or even second) time we have heard that the Nats were the first organization to contact a player that they ended up signing. It would seem that Rizzo and company are anticipating when players become available and getting on the phone at first light. This strategy does not always work but it very clearly sometimes works. Out hustle the competition. Perhaps something to take note of ...

Posted by: natbiscuits | February 19, 2010 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Good to hear the agent's take on the pursuit of the Nats on CMW, although you expect to hear rosy things at these pressers. Any compliment our FO gets should make us smile.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | February 19, 2010 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Olsen will be the 2010 Nats "Come Back Player of the Year".
CMW will be 2011. Just beating out Zimmermann.

Posted by: 1stBaseCoach | February 19, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Lannan threw closer to 6 and 1/3 innings per game. Only 25 pitchers threw more innings than Lannan did. He will likely throw more innings this year...I don't know what the recommended percentage increase in a pitcher's innings is from year to year, but it would probably result in a little less than an inning a start for Lannan this year.

You also can't completely blame Lannan for the unearned runs, nor can you blame him for the putrid run support he received last year. It appeard that whenever he threw, the lineup didn't really hit.

You have to be able to rely on your bullpen, as well. It would be interesting to see how many of his losses came from inherited runners scored, and how many of his no decisions would have been wins had the pen held on in the 8th or 9th.

Posted by: Cavalier83 | February 19, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse

I'm starting to feel fuzzy all over. Hope I still feel that way come June.

Posted by: dovelevine | February 19, 2010 3:21 PM

***********
I think you should take a shower. And before June.

=)

Posted by: NatsNut | February 19, 2010 5:10 PM | Report abuse

lpatashn, we're quibbling here, but I think Lannan fits the bill as a number two starter. Going six innings every start is pretty standard stuff these days (Marquis' average for the past three years is around six). But, more importantly, look at Chico Harlan's stats on Lannan from an earlier post:

* Lannan is one of 32 pitchers in MLB across the last two years with 350+ IP and an ERA under 4.00.

* He is one of 43 active MLBers with 70+ starts and a lifetime ERA under 4.00.

Based on ERA, he's a number two. He may not get there using the stuff that you see from a normal number two, but he's a number two starter.

If he pitched for a good team, he'd have won at least 12 games in each of the last two years.

Posted by: baltova1 | February 19, 2010 5:23 PM | Report abuse

"Olsen will be the 2010 Nats "Come Back Player of the Year".
CMW will be 2011. Just beating out Zimmermann."

Oh, additionally, add Detwiler...and any other number of other 'future' Nats.

This club is snakebit.

Posted by: 1stBaseCoach |

Posted by: 1stBaseCoach | February 19, 2010 5:36 PM | Report abuse

Can Lannan be considered a #2 Starter?
Let's ask reality!

There are 16 NL teams.
Does Lannan's 2009 performance rank among the top 32 SP's in the NL?

Inning pitched - 14th
ERA - 22nd
WHIP - 30th

So, seems to me that he is a #2 starter, in the lower tier of #2's for sure, but if you're among the 32 best SP's in the NL, it's kinda hard to suggest that you're not a #2 starter.

Did he perform last year like a #2 that a real playoff contenders ha in their rotation? Nah.

Posted by: Sunderland | February 19, 2010 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Sunderland's assessment is accurate. And we should be looking at it from a 'playoff' perspective. By the way, do all 32 teams even have a true #1? Or even true and worthy #2's? Might be a better approach to rack up the contending teams and compare Lannan to them.

Posted by: Nataholic | February 19, 2010 6:06 PM | Report abuse

I really don't get hung up on what # a guy is in the rotation. The fact is Lannan did a very good job, is a left-hander, and is still young. I believe he's going to get better in time. Last year, I thought he kind of hit a wall in August, but he bounced back with a nice September. Remember this was his first year in his career that he threw over 200 innings, so to me it wasn't that suprising. But if you eliminate August, his ERA would have been really impressive. As for the wins, he got poor run support and our bullpen blew leads for him. You can't blame him for that.

Posted by: curlyWfan | February 19, 2010 6:21 PM | Report abuse

Two of the 32 teams definitely do not have an ace.

Posted by: markfromark | February 20, 2010 7:13 PM | Report abuse

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