Good Saturday morning to you, NatsTown. Hope everyone is staying warm and dreaming wonderful thoughts of pitchers and catchers reporting to sunny Viera in less than two months' time.
Couple of quick-hit items to pass along as you enjoy your coffee and morning paper. (Does anyone out there still read the paper? Please assure me someone does. I may not be in the newspaper business anymore, but I still believe in the importance of the printed daily word.)
Anyways, here's what's going on...
Wang contract incentives
Details of Chien-Ming Wang's contract have emerged. According to the Taipai Times, Wang's $1 million base salary can be bolstered in a number of ways with various incentives that could bring the total value of the deal up to $5 million.
If Wang is on the Nationals' 25-man roster more than 30 days in 2011, he'll receive $250,000. If he's on the roster more than 60 days, he'll receive another $250,000. And if he's on the roster more than 90 days, he'll receive yet another $250,000 bonus.
Also, Wang will earn $100,000 upon making his 10th start of the season, with another $100,000 due for each subsequent start through No. 19. He would receive $150,000 apiece for his 20th and 21st starts, and $200,000 for his 22nd start. If he can make it to start No. 23, he'll earn another $300,000 bonus, with $300,000 more offered up for starts 24-27. (In a nutshell, if Wang were to make 27 starts for the Nationals next year, he'd earn $3 million in these bonuses, plus the $750,000 he'd earn from obviously being on the roster at least 90 days.)
Finally, there are incentives up to $600,000 if Wang wins any MLB award, like Cy Young. The most likely scenario would be NL Comeback Player of the Year, which would net him $200,000.
Wang told the Times that he has resumed pitching in Taipai this winter and that he expects to be ready by April or May. "The Nationals are signing me and bringing me back to Major League Baseball," he told the paper, "and they are letting me recover without putting any pressure on me, so I can let my arm heal completely before I get back out on the pitch."
Antonelli signs minor-league deal
Former Padres infielder Matt Antonelli has signed a minor-league contract with the Nationals; he'll be at spring training, but not in big-league camp.
Actually, the club hasn't announced this one yet, but Antonelli broke the news himself on his personal website. (What a world we live in, huh?)
The 25-year-old second baseman missed all but one game of this season with a broken hamate bone in his left hand and was non-tendered by the Padres earlier this month. San Diego's first-round pick in the 2006 draft appeared in 21 big-league games in 2008, hitting .193 with a homer and three RBI. He's a career .257 hitter in parts of five minor-league seasons.
Strasburg wins GIBBY
Stephen Strasburg's 14-strikeout debut was chosen by at least one consortium as the game of the year in the majors. Strasburg last night won something called the GIBBY award: the Greatness in Baseball Yearly award.
I'll be honest, I'd never heard of the GIBBYs until I got a press release about them this morning. But according to MLB, "hundreds of esteemed, credentialed panelists" voted on this along with fans, media, front-office personnel and retired players. So it must be legit.