Sunday, July 24, 2011

Wang to start Friday vs. Mets

Chien-Ming Wang will start Friday night against the Mets, the right-hander's first big-league appearance in more than two years, the Nationals announced Sunday evening.

The announcement came hours after Wang made his sixth (and final) minor-league rehab start, allowing five runs and eight hits over five innings for Class AAA Syracuse against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. It was by far the 31-year-old's least-effective start during his month-long rehab assignment, and it perhaps raised some questions about his readiness to face big-league hitters, but the Nationals don't have the ability to keep him in the minors any longer.

Pitchers are allowed only 30 days on rehab assignments before they must either come off the disabled list, establish they've suffered a new injury or otherwise be removed off the franchise's roster. Wang's assignment ends on Wednesday, and because he's out of minor-league options and has been deemed healthy, he would have to be released if not activated.

A two-time 19-game winner with the Yankees in 2006-07, Wang hasn't pitched in the major leagues since July 4, 2009. He underwent surgery
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Anonymous said...

Wang is going to get creamed. And Rizzo is going to get trashed. Its as bad as bringing up Flores way before he was ready. Rizzo appears to be making more and more mistakes when it comes to the big league roster. That can't be good.

NatsLady said...

Not sure what choice Rizzo had with either player. Mark explained situation with CMW. We are not contending for the playoffs. If Wang gets creamed, let him go. If not, or even if he only gets a little creamed, you maybe have something for next year. So he loses two or three games when Wang starts, that's going to be the difference this year? We lost plenty of games without him, including 6 on this road trip.

As for Flores, I'm sure Rizzo knew Flores wasn't ready and would not have been brought him up except for Pudge's being on the DL.

NatsLady said...

If you mean Rizzo will get blasted for taking a chance on Wang in the first place, well, that's another matter. Seems like we have nursed several pitchers through injuries, and are still nursing some (Kimball, Stras).

Stranded_in_Philly said...

Heartily disagree with Anonymous at 9:01. We'll probably see some bumps in the road as he continues to progress, but with the investment we've made in him, and the progress he's showed so far(last start aside), we'd be foolish to let him walk. Might just hit gold here.

Now to clear some roster space. Clipp and Desi (and probably a bit more) to TB For B.J., maybe?

baseballswami said...

I am very lukewarm on bj upton. Seems to be a Jayson Werth clone. Do we really need another light hitting outfielder with an atitude? Same with Michael Bourne. I think we can hold with what we have until BHarp. Actually, if each person on our roster performed up to his abilities, I would be ok with all of them staying. Position players, that is. I think Marquis should be traded - not because I don't like him, but because he will be leaving us anyway and it would be nice to get something for him.

NatsLady said...

I'm also lukewarm on BJ, though I think Bourne might be more suitable, but also pricier. However, RZimm is favorable, to BJ, and I have to give that some weight, because he rarely speaks in public on subjects like that.

Gonat said...

Stranded - I see you want Upton. Can you tell me why you would trade Tyler Clippard and Ian Desmond for a player that is marginally better than what you are getting from Roger Bernadina?

I hope we don't see Upton coming to DC for many reasons. First, it is a 2 year rental and DC doesn't need to trade long term players for short term parts who won't be here when the Nats are pushing for playoffs.

There is a reason Tampa wants to trade him and that is his low AB and OBP and other hustle type of issues he has had over the years there which are hopefully behind him but not forgotten.

The upside is still a gamble. Yes, Upton has been good on the road and it doesn't mean it will translate here that he will all of a sudden do well with a change of scenery.

The best way to build this team is with home grown talent and Free Agent acquisitions and when this team is in the thick of the playoff push, that is when you do a short-term rental.

Here is my solution on BJ Upton. He will be a Free Agent after 2013 so if he is worth it then , get him on the open market.

WhatsaNattaU said...

I've never read anything questioning Bourne's attitude. In fact I've read that he has a great attitude. As for Upton, I think he would be a great addition, but worry that the price will be high. For example, I would not want to trade Desmond, Norris, Marrero, and Milone for him. I'm just making that up of course but I would assume that some very large bounty would be required for Upton - that's the only reason I wouldn't want him. As a talent and as a teammate, he would be a good addition for the Nats.

Mark'd said...

The Nats are out of this years playoff picture. What will BJ Upton do for the next 2 months to better this team?

Drew8 said...

Notes from the final game of the Harperama in Richmond:

The good news is that Harper stroked his first extra base hit for Harrisburg, grounding a double to left. The bad news is that he is struggling in left field, which is a surprise given his manifest athletic gifts.

In the bottom of the first, Richmond left fielder Wendell Fairley doubled into the left field corner. Harper chased the ball down, then overthrew the cutoff man, gunning the ball to third baseman Andy Fox. Fairley stayed at second, so no harm done.

Then came the bad part. With two outs in the first, Richmond cf Francisco Peguero lofted what looked like a routine fly ball to left. Again, Harper hesitated and misjudged the ball, which sailed over his head. Fairley scored and Harper was given an error.

In the two Richmond-Harrisburg games I saw, this happened to Harper three times. On Thursday he broke in on two liners that flew over his head. This ball was not hit on a line.

If the problem is twilight, the electric lights or some other Richmond factor, I'm not aware of it. His Richmond counterpart, Fairley, didnt seem to struggle.

At the plate tonight Harper grounded to short, hit the double and twice was called out on strikes. His average has inched up to .208. He's obviously going to hit, but, so far anyway, he's also got a learning curve in left.

P.S. Tyler Moore crushed his 23rd homer and Derek Norris cracked his 10th double. Norris also was surprisingly quick running down the line to first. He's obviously patient at the plate and has a good arm. He's a pleasure to watch.

Shairon Martis struck out eight and gave up three earned runs, raising his ERA to 3.08. His fastball looked lively and topped out at 93.

sunderland said...

Drew8, thanks, appreciate the update.

Wally said...

The Nats have an interesting and difficult decision coming up on Matt Purke, and I am curious what people would do. here is how I see it: The guy, if healthy, was legitimately in the discussion for #1 overall pick. But let's say that he would have been a top 3 pick, and got a $6m bonus. But he wasn't healthy, everyone passed on him, and now he also isn't playing in the Cape Cod league, so Rizzo has no playing time to evaluate (like the red Sox did with Ranaudo last year). He turned down $4m from Texas last year, is a sophmore, and even if MLB adopts hard slotting, if he fully recovers and goes in the top 3 picks next year, he is looking at more than $5m bonus. So I think it takes $4m to sign him. But if he needs shoulder surgery, he wouldn't get $500k, let alone millions (see Barrett Loux). Plus, Rizzo already must be feeling heat with his bosses over Werth's deal, so if he misses it here, it is more heat.

You have a chance to get a #1 starter from a 3d round pick, but one with a big medical issue. Assuming doctors clear his medicals, which would give only limited confidence imo, would you give him $4+m right now?

Cwj said...

Can't wait to see Wang finally take the mound.
I'll remain optimistic and say 5 innings/3 ER given up.
Also, the Nats will win :-) After all, they do tend to avoid prolonged losing streaks this year.

sjm308 said...

I am just a little skeptical of BJ Upton - I think he has 3000 major league at bats so its a pretty large sample and he has not done much to impress - Probably a better defender but not sure his price is worth that - also do not want to give up the players I have seen mentioned.

Drew8 - not that this is important but who won the game? as always, we appreciate the scouting report

Wally - I think I pass on this one, as long as they sign the other top picks - if Purke is honestly hurt, he will not pitch next year and will not be a top pick at all - if this is shoulder surgery, we all know that is a lot more iffy and I would stay away unless I knew he was absolutely ok - to me the key is signing the other top picks and maybe Purke sees we are making strides and joins the group.

Wang is a no brainer for this organization - they have to bring him up and see what he can do after two years and 3 million dollars - it would be silly to just set him free after all this time - I am not expecting great things after his AAA outing but you never know - If it works, we have a solid start on next year, if not, it was absolutely worth the gamble on a year where we are obviously not going anywhere (AGAIN!!) DARN IT
My interest, besides seeing how well he does, is who they send down.

Wally said...

sjm - I think that is how it plays out, because medical reports without playing time just aren't enough to base a multi million $ decision on. Tempting, though. He was one heck of a prospect before the injury, and it is unclear what the injury actually is.

Cwj said...

As a fan I don't want Upton to join the team, nor do I want Clippard to leave the team.
Desmond & Marquis packaged for prospects? Perhaps, but don't know.
To be honest I'd hate to tinker with the current roster too much. They are very much exceeding my expectations this season.

Go Nats!

sunderland said...

I'm not a strong advocate of signing BJ Upton, but he might be one of those guys that benefits from a change of scenery and a fresh start (see Morgan, Nyjer). His 2007 and 2008 were both great years. But on the flip side, if the coaching staff in Tampa can't straighten him out and get him back to his former self, why would anyone else, let alone the Nationals, think they could? I'd love to see Upton commit to no home runs swings, and see if he can cut his strikeout rate significantly.
But in general, assuming Tampa will get commensurate value, I'd rather we not do what it takes to get this deal done.

sjm - I think your take on Purke is right on.

Drew8 said...


You're most welcome.

Richmond won the nightcap 7-5. Richmond also won today's first game, 4-1. Harper and Norris sat that one out. Lefty Eric Surkamp, Richmond's ace, dominated Harrisburg in the first game, scattering three hits and striking out 10. He's now 8-3 with a 2.00 ERA. We'll see him in SF someday.

Elsewhere in the Nats' chain today:

At Hagerstown, lefty Matt Grace, an 8th round 2010 pick out of UCLA, took a no hitter into the 7th inning. He gave up one hit in 6.1 innings as the Suns won 7-2. Grace is now 10-5 with a 4.25 ERA.

You know that C.M. Wang got cuffed around in Syracuse. If you missed it, Tommy Milone also lost there Saturday night, raising his ERA back to 3.30.

At short-season Auburn today, righty Colin Bates, a 22nd round 2010 pick out of UNC, improved his record to 3-1 with a 2.08 ERA.

Wally said...

Just read a NYT piece on CMW where he estimates that he is 80-90% of what he was pre-injury. FWIW

Anonymous said...

Purke's a lefty power pitcher. Not the ubiquitous right handed pitcher. He's worth the expense if his injury isn't serious as Rizzo claims. That's the bottom line. He's not just a potential #1 pick, or the potential #1 pick and prospect (was at the beginning of this year) but a lefty handed one.

Anonymous said...

Might just hit gold here.

Marquis throws his power or turbo slider at around 93-94 mph.
When he is on.

Wang used to do that consistently. That's how he won 19 games.
He can't even manage 90 now.

He's going to get creamed by the Braves. Big time.

flynnie said...

swammi says: I love the game and this is my team - I guess this mutual misery is better than getting drunk in a bar somewhere. My friends just do not understand how I can get so worked up over a game. Well -- I post here because you all get it.
July 24, 2011 8:52 PM

Beautiful, profound, wonderful post. I feel sorry for those who don't get it. It's like not getting Shakespeare or the Bach B Minor Mass. Why would they brag about not getting your interest in a noble endeavor requiring the highest level of skill, with well-developed rules to insure fairness, where the games are filled with moments of high drama on which the outcome depends? Sometimes the endings are happy, and sometimes tragic. I know the off days are empty.

UNTERP.NAT said...

Flynnie said...

You are becoming my muse...

Will said...

I don't think Wang is going to fare well. He was less than impressive in the minors, and was lucky during his 19 win seasons.

Wang has never been a power pitcher. He's never been able to strike out batters, and has had some control issues. I think Rizzo was stupid to invest so much money rehabbing the guy, as pitchers with shoulder injuries are very risky (see Brandon Webb, Johan Santana, Chris Young). The injury frequently returns as we've seen with all these guys' (Wang included) numerous comebacks. However, it's pretty clear why Rizzo has such a crush on Wang. He has a career groundball percentage of over 60%. Only 3 pitchers have a rate that high this season, and only one pitcher managed it in each of the last 2 seasons. Considering Wang's lack of 'stuff' to make batters swing and miss, he has to rely on getting lots of groundballs to succeed. The problem is, Wang's groundball rate has declined each season in the majors, from 64% in his rookie season to 53% in 2009.

To me, Wang has bust written all over him. He's been too hittable in his rehab starts. And to top it off, if he return back to 2006/07 form, then we're stuck paying him a big salary, as he's a FA at the end of the season. It's nice that we paid him $5mil for 2 years of rehab, but I put little faith in athletes' loyalty when it comes to collecting paychecks.

Will said...

That should be $3mil for 2 years of rehab, not $5mil.

baseballswami said...

Flynnie - a kindred spirit. Now - the day off where we miss baseball, but hope for tomorrow and the start of a great homestand. Hoping to catch one or two games live this week. Go Nats!!

sunderland said...

Just speculating, but I would suspect that the Nats have an option on Wang for 2012. It would be silly to sign the guy for one year and not have an option for the second year.

JaneB said...

I'm looking forward to seeing him pitch. Was there to see Maya take the mound the first time, and will be glad to see Wang Redux, no matter the results. At any rate, the money is gone, the time is up, and we would be screaming if they just passed on the opportunity to see where he is. In another month or so, we will know if the experiment paid off for us, or for some other team down the road. I'm looking forward to the SI cover with his photo and the story of his amazing comeback.I want him to be in a Nats uni. Jordan didn't come back at 100% (and I know the injury was different), and he gets better by the month.

We have 61 games left. This year.

A DC Wonk said...

JaneB noted: Jordan didn't come back at 100% (and I know the injury was different), and he gets better by the month.

Nice perspective -- good point. Pitchers usually have a bumpy road when they come back, but, despite the bumps, some of them _do_ come back.

Will said:

I think Rizzo was stupid to invest so much money rehabbing the guy

His base salary for 2011 is $1 million. Good pitchers don't grow on trees. At age 26 he finished second in Cy Young award voting. The following year was another 19 win season, and led the league in fewest HR per inning. He's 31 now. I think the opposite of you: I think it's worth the $1M roll of the dice in case he can regain much (not even all) of his former skill.

Rolls of the dice are just that -- some pan out, some don't. In 2009 Livan was released outright by the Mets, with an ERA of 5.47 -- and many thought the Nats were stupid for signing him.

Big Cat said...

We aren't going to the playoffs.....whats the harm of sticking Wang out there. Gotta start weeding the riff raff out, like we did Maya. Who knows, maybe he'll dazzle. While you're at it, bring up Milone to take Gorzo's spot for a start or two

Tyler Moore another bomb last night in AA. The kid is having another monster season. Anybody got a report on what the scouts think of him?

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