Amanda Comak covers the Washington Nationals for The Washington Times.
When the Washington Nationals finalized a one-year, $4 million deal with Chien-Ming Wang for 2012, they helped solidify what continues to become one of the young team's clear strengths: starting pitching depth.
The Nationals announced their one-year deal with Chien-Ming Wang Friday afternoon, making official the $4 million (plus incentives) pact that, reported Thursday evening, keeps the 31-year-old in the fold for 2012 after a successful major league comeback.
According to a team source, the Nationals and Chien-Ming Wang have agreed on a new one-year deal, pending a physical.
The Astros announced they've claimed utility man Brian Bixler off waivers from the Nationals today, sending the valuable do-everything man to Houston.
While the Nationals set about filling the final question mark on the coaching staff for 2012 -- the bench coach -- they'll run down their own list of candidates. As of Thursday morning, though, multiple sources indicated that neither third base coach Bo Porter nor Triple-A manager Randy Knorr were the main candidates for that job.
A deal between the Nationals and right-handed pitcher Chien-Ming Wang has been agreed upon "conceptually," his agent Alan Nero said Wednesday but it's not expected to get done before 12:01 a.m. on Thursday when Wang will officially hit the open market as a free agent. Six different teams have already inquired about Wang, Nero said.
Despite the Nationals much-improved defense, there is not a single Washington player on the list of 2011 Gold Glove finalists.
The official Elias rankings that determine whether or not a player set to hit free agency will be Type A, Type B or unranked was obtained by MLBTraderumors Monday afternoon and, as expected, the Nationals will not have a single free agent that will yield a draft pick if they sign elsewhere.
With the announcement that Davey Johnson will officially manage the Nationals in 2012 also came the announcement that the Nationals 2011 coaching staff would remain largely intact save for one change at the bench coach position. Pat Corrales is not expected to return as Johnson's bench coach after serving in the role for the season's final three months.
The Nationals made official Monday the long-expected move to solidify the start to one of the most anticipated offseasons in team history: they agreed to keep manager Davey Johnson in the dugout for the 2012 season.
Eight Nationals filed for free agency when 12:01 hit Sunday morning and the Nationals officially have five days to negotiate exclusively with them. If they don't agree before 12:01 a.m. Thursday morning, all eight will hit the free agent market. Here's the list of Nationals who became free agents Sunday:
One of the unknowns throughout the season when it comes to a team's young, controllable players is what the cutoff will be for service time for Super Two players. According MLBTraderumors' Tim Dierkes, the cutoff this year is expected to be two years and 146 days of service.
General manager Mike Rizzo's conference call with reporters on Wednesday was relatively wide-ranging. I've already written up the posts on the manager (expected announcement to come shortly after the world series ends), Chien-Ming Wang and a few other Nationals free agents, and Yu Darvish. Here are a few of the other tidbits and updates from the briefing:
Way back in September, when Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo sat down with reporters, he outlined the top two items on his offseason wish list: a front line starter and a center fielder. One of those things could be available on the international market if Japanese right-hander Yu Darvish is indeed posted by the Nippon Ham Fighters. The Nationals have been linked to interest in Darvish for some time and Rizzo reaffirmed that interest on Wednesday.
Since he began to truly regain his form and prove himself as a viable member of the starting rotation, the Nationals have wanted to keep Chien-Ming Wang around for next year. They've been in discussions for a contract for the Taiwanese right-hander since September but Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said Wednesday that while those talks are ongoing, a deal is not "imminent."
By Douglas Holtz-Eakin
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