Chien-Ming Wang has stood by his initial comments as the 2011 Regular Season wore down. His preference was always to return to Washington as he wanted to pay the organization back for the support they’ve shown him over the past two seasons. It would appear an agreement between the pitcher and the team may be close.
As you may recall, Wang has now played out a pair of one year contracts with the team after suffering a series of foot, hip, and shoulder injuries during the 2008 and 2009 seasons that led the New York Yankees to non-tender him that following winter. Initially it was believed that Wang could return to the mound by the middle of the 2010 season, but setbacks in his rehabilitation prolonged that wait until July 29, 2011. Over the two years he’s been a part of the Nationals organization he’s made 11 starts with a 4-3 record and 4.04 ERA over 62.1 innings.
Early this afternoon Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reported that the team and Wang are closing in on a new contract for the 2012 season. According to Wang’s agent, Alan Nero, roughly six teams have “checked in” with him over the past few days to gauge interest from Wang. Wang’s insistence that he wants to repay the Nationals for their loyalty has remained prominent. All indications would make it seem as though a deal could be finalized within the coming days.
Some outlets actually reported that a one year contract had indeed been agreed upon at one point this afternoon. However, according to Kilgore’s sources within the organization and Nero himself, that is not the case. Nero even is quoted as saying the following:
"I’m optimistic that we will come to agreement in the next few days."
Getting Wang under contract this early in the offseason is a good sign for the Nationals as it will give them an extra piece of depth for the starting rotation as they continue to evaluate the roster and make decisions with regards to the upcoming season. Once formal details have been announced regarding an agreement we’ll post them here.