According to a team source, the Nationals and Chien-Ming Wang have agreed on a new one-year deal, pending a physical.
Wang had said from the end of the season — after a triumphant return to the major leagues — that he wanted to return to Washington and felt indebted to the Nationals for showing so much faith in him the past two years. Thursday evening, pending a physical of course, while he was in Taiwan with the MLB All-Star Series as a member of the Chinese Taipei team he was able to do just that.
“I really appreciate their patience the last two years,” Wang said in September.
Six teams inquired about the sinkerballer, agent Alan Nero told the Washington Times on Wednesday but he felt at that time that the two sides were close to working out and finalizing a new deal and the other teams would not greatly come into play. Wang spent the better part of the past two years rehabbing a devastating shoulder injury. The Nationals signed him twice — once before the 2010 season for $2 million, though he did not pitch at all that year, and again for an incentive-laden $1 million contract in 2011.
Wang made his return to the major leagues this past season and started 11 games for Washington. He reached several incentives in his contract this year, earning nearly $2 million for 2011 as well as he worked to a 4-3 record with a 4.04 ERA. His improvement from start to start was clear and his strength and confidence continued to grow with each outing.
“As far as I’m concerned, ever since he’s started throwing again, he’s a keeper,” said Nationals manager Davey Johnson about Wang in September. “I’ve kind of had that thinking all along. Every time he goes out there, I’ve seen a little bit of improvement.”
Wednesday afternoon, Nero said the two sides had agreed “conceptually” but it was just a matter of “massaging it and getting in all the details that we need.”