Chien-Ming Wang hopes to return to Nationals
I'm down in Orlando for the annual General Manager Meetings, where things have been pretty quiet so far this morning/early afternoon. Mike Rizzo will meet with reporters early this evening, so I'll have some updates from that later on at the very least.
For now, I've got a quick update on where the Nats stand with Chien-Ming Wang. The Nationals were disappointed and surprised Wang's surgically repaired right shoulder never healed enough for him to pitch in 2010, but they acquired Wang last offseason with the knowledge the biggest potential payoff would come in 2011. The Nationals still control Wang's rights and have the option to bring him next year - and Wang wants to remain with the organization.
"We're all hoping we can work something out for him to be with the Nationals in 2011," said Alan Nero, Wang's representative.
The Nationals and Nero have been in talks about bringing Wang back. The most likely scenario is that the Nationals will reach a one-year deal with Wang that pays him less than what he would make in arbitration.
"It all remains to be seen," Nero said. "We don't know for sure what the market for him would be. He's a special player. We're optimistic he'll be healthy. Our goal for this year is to work something out with the Nationals."
Wang made his biggest strides in the fall, in the instructional league in Viera, Fla. He pitched in two games, hitting 86 miles per hour with his fastball in a one-inning stint. A few days later, he pitched two innings and hit 89 with his fastball.
"He was just getting his strength back," Nationals rehab pitching coordinator Mark Grater said. "I don't know how it would be for him competing every fifth day. That's the big question."
Wang is currently not throwing, just exercising instead at home, still trying to strengthen his shoulder. Wang, at least, will be able to throw once spring training arrives. It's not certain he'll be 100 percent and ready to begin a normal preseason program.
"It's possible, but there's a lot of questions, too," Grater said. "He works his butt off, so I wouldn't put it past him. He shows up on time and does his work. He wants to get better."
Last season, Wang made $2 million with several incentives, none of which, obviously, were reached.
Wang would technically be due a raise from that salary with the arbitration process, but he would likely have to accept less money in a one-year contract with more incentives. In arbitration, Wang could be docked no more than 20 percent on a one-year contract, meaning the Nationals would have to pay him at least at least $1.6 million if they go to arbitration. Since Wang hasn't pitched since mid-2009, the most likely outcome would be the Nationals agreeing with Wang on a one-year deal for less money and more incentives. Wang will be a free agent following the 2011 season.
| November 16, 2010; 1:04 PM ET
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