Chien-Ming Wang Rumors
The most fun week of baseball's offseason is here, as 2012's Winter Meetings get underway in Nashville. With a ton of activity expected over the next few days, we don't want to let anything fall through the cracks, so let's round up a few Monday morning updates from around MLB:
- 18-year-old Japanese pitcher Shohei Otani, who announced in October that he intended to sign with an MLB team, may now be leaning toward staying in Japan, according to Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times (Twitter link), who cites reports out of Japan. A decision from Otani is expected this week, tweets Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times.
- If the Braves make a move this week, it's more likely to be a trade than a signing, says Mark Bowman of MLB.com, who tweets that Atlanta has "minimal interest" in the outfielders on the free agent market. The team's interest in free agents could increase if asking prices drop, but that's not likely to happen this early in the offseason, tweets Bowman. David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has more details on the Braves' search for a left fielder.
- The Rays' agreement with James Loney makes them an unlikely fit for Eric Hosmer or Billy Butler now, tweets Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star. If the Royals were to pursue a Rays pitcher via trade, Kansas City may have to offer Wil Myers, Dutton adds.
- Given the weak third base market, Jon Morosi of FOX Sports thinks the Padres may be motivated to sell high on Chase Headley and send him to the Yankees (Twitter link).
- Coming off an injury-shortened 2012 season, Chien-Ming Wang may not sign with an MLB team until midseason, according to Bill Ladson of MLB.com (Twitter link).
- John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer thinks the Reds will make a run at Dexter Fowler, but doesn't expect the team to give up Homer Bailey to make it happen.
- The Dodgers may have a tricky time targeting an outfielder, since they need a starting-caliber player but can't promise a starting job, writes Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times.
- If the Indians decide to go all-in on their rebuild, they could extract young pitching talent from a team like the Mariners or Diamondbacks, says ESPN.com's Buster Olney (Insider link). Cleveland's asking price for Asdrubal Cabrera is "steep in terms of young pitchers," according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
- In an Insider-only story for ESPN.com, Jim Bowden has identified a trade candidate for all 30 MLB teams, along with potential suitors for each player.
- After a quiet Winter Meetings in 2011, the Red Sox figure to be more active this year, writes Tim Britton of the Providence Journal, as he explores a few of the team's potential targets.
There will be interleague games throughout most of the season, starting next year, ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark reports. MLB will limit the number of interleague contests during the last five weeks of the season to ensure that most teams play within their own league down the stretch. Here are more of Stark’s rumors...
- Brett Myers told Stark he doesn’t want to be traded, but realizes it’s beyond his control. Though Myers doesn’t have a no-trade clause, he obtains a $500K bonus if dealt.
- The Phillies have “zero” interest in trading Cole Hamels or Shane Victorino, according to an executive who looked into the possibility of trading for the free agents to be. "They'd have to be really out of it to trade anybody,” the exec said.
- Some teams have expressed interest in rehabbing right-hander Chien-Ming Wang. The Nationals don’t seem interested in trading him, however.
- The Giants are sending signals that they’re in the market for a corner outfield bat, Stark reports. The Giants, who are also monitoring the infield market, may not have much selection since few power bats seem to be available.
- Rival teams believe the Astros are leaning toward selecting Stanford right-hander Mark Appel with the first overall selection in this June’s amateur draft. One person said Astros GM Jeff Luhnow seems to want to select someone close to the Major Leagues.
- The loss of pitching coach Dave Duncan entered into the Cardinals' thinking when they extended Yadier Molina earlier in the year, GM John Mozeliak told Stark. "With the fact that Dunc was gone, it was a subtle way of still keeping that same presence on our staff,” he said.
Some intra-divisional action in the National League East tonight as the Braves and Marlins are underway in Miami. More out of the division..
- Nationals hurler Chien-Ming Wang told reporters, including Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post, that he'd be willing to move into the bullpen when he returns to the majors. However, Kilgore writes that the Nats are unlikely to ask him to do that. Washington currently has a surplus of starting pitching with Ross Detwiler in the fifth spot and John Lannan in Triple-A.
- Jim Bowden of ESPN.com (Insider sub. req'd) writes that the Phillies should make trades to replenish their thin farm system. Acquisitions such as Cliff Lee and Hunter Pence have cost them youth but moving potential free agents Cole Hamels and Shane Victorino could change that if they decide against signing them. Bowden also opines that the Red Sox should explore the trade market.
- Mets owner Fred Wilpon may be iffy on David Wright as a superstar, but he would like him as a son-in-law, tweets David Lennon of Newsday. "If I had another daughter, I’d love if she married a David Wright," said Wilpon.
One scout told Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that the work of the Braves’ hitting instructors and the performance of Kris Medlen has made the difference for the team so far in 2012. Atlanta GM Frank Wren agrees with that assessment, according to Rosenthal, who offers notes and rumors from around the league in his latest column:
- The Cubs are more likely to trade Ryan Dempster if they sign Matt Garza to an extension. However, Dempster’s ten and five rights allow him to veto any trade, so he’ll have leverage if the Cubs look to make a move. It doesn’t seem likely that Dempster will sign a below-market extension to stay in Chicago, Rosenthal writes.
- The Cubs don’t have immediate plans to call up Anthony Rizzo, who figures to stay in the minor leagues until an opening emerges.
- Releasing Alfonso Soriano doesn’t appear to be an option; the outfielder has approximately $50MM remaining on his contract with the Cubs.
- General managers criticize the collective bargaining agreement, Rosenthal reports. Some low-revenue teams dislike spending restrictions on the draft, since they feel the limitations will drive up the price of MLB talent.
- Chien-Ming Wang, who is now rehabbing at Triple-A, could be valuable insurance for the Nationals, since they’ve decided to cap Stephen Strasburg’s innings.
- Brett Myers’ 2013 option likely vests with approximately 55 games finished, Rosenthal suggests. The right-hander will obtain a $500K bonus if the Astros trade him.
- One scout says Blue Jays catching prospect Travis D’Arnaud looks like Russell Martin did with the Dodgers.
Stephen Strasburg says he'll have to learn when to pitch to hitters and when to overpower them in order to develop further as an MLB pitcher, Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reports. Here are some more notes on the Nationals...
- Nationals starter Chien-Ming Wang had to be helped off of the field after straining his left hamstring in today's Spring Training game against the Yankees. If Wang misses time with an injury, the Nationals may need trade candidate John Lannan in their Opening Day rotation after all.
- ESPN.com's Buster Olney and Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com both reported today that Lannan's trade value isn't very high right now.
- Bryce Harper explained that he’s definitely hoping to make the Nationals’ Opening Day roster, Kilgore reports. There was some confusion about Harper's expectations earlier in the week, but he still intends to break camp with the big league team.
- MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince explains why it might make sense for the Nationals to play Harper in center field. "As far as I'm concerned, anybody that can throw and run like he can should have experience at all the outfield positions," manager Davey Johnson said. Harper, who played center field in last night’s exhibition game, could provide the Nationals with stability at a position they’ve had trouble solidifying.
- Nationals GM Mike Rizzo told reporters, including Ben Goessling of MASNsports.com, that the team discussed possible 2013 options with Chien-Ming Wang's representatives before agreeing to a simple one-year deal.
- The Nationals will continue searching for pitching. "We want a guy that has shown he's a good leader, that can win in the big leagues," Rizzo said. "It's not about having the best stuff. It's about being able to pitch 200 innings many, many times in your career.” As Goessling and a number of other Nationals reporters have noted, that describes Mark Buehrle quite well.
- Scouts tell ESPN.com's Buster Olney that they like what Buehrle offers, even though the 32-year-old southpaw doesn't light up any radar guns. Meanwhile, the Marlins are concerned about the command issues C.J. Wilson had in the postseason, according to Olney.
- The Mets haven’t ruled out free agent Rick Ankiel as a center field option, according to Andy Martino of the New York Daily News. They still have arbitration eligible center fielder Angel Pagan, but they may trade or non-tender him instead.
- Royals GM Dayton Moore acknowledged that he has had preliminary trade talks with the Braves, according to Carroll Rogers of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The Braves are open to moving Jair Jurrjens or Martin Prado and the Royals are looking for starting pitching.
The Nationals have finalized a new one-year contract with Chien-Ming Wang, reports Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. The deal is worth $4MM plus incentive clauses, and it will be official once Wang passes a physical. We heard yesterday from Wang's agent Alan Nero that the two sides had "conceptually" agreed to a new deal.
Wang signed one-year contracts with Washington in each of the last two offseasons, and finally made his return to the majors in 2011 after missing the entire 2010 campaign while recovering from shoulder surgery. Wang posted a 4.04 ERA, a 1.92 K/BB rate and a 53.4% ground ball rate in 11 starts with the Nats last year.
The Nationals are nearing a new contract with Chien-Ming Wang, according to Amanda Comak of the Washington Times. Agent Alan Nero doesn't expect a deal by the time free agency begins tonight, but the sides have agreed to terms "conceptually."
Wang's agent, Alan Nero, told Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post that the right-hander drew interest from six teams. The 31-year-old made 11 starts in 2011 after missing the 2010 campaign. He posted a 4.04 ERA with 3.6 K/9 and 1.9 BB/9 in 62 1/3 innings for Washington this past season. Wang's 53.4% ground ball rate was in line with his career mark of 57.5% and was likely a factor in teams' interest. MLB.com's Bill Ladson also reported on the deal.
Links for Thursday afternoon, before what may be the final baseball game of the 2011 season...
- The Tigers are expected to pick up Jose Valverde’s $9MM option for 2012 soon, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (Twitter link).
- Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post hears from Alan Nero, the agent for Chien-Ming Wang, that a new deal between the right-hander and the Nationals is likely. The Nationals are Wang's first choice and negotiations are "routine," according to Nero. Washington GM Mike Rizzo confirmed yesterday that the sides are working toward a new contract.
- Cubs assistant GM Randy Bush will stay on under president of baseball operations Theo Epstein, according to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times (on Twitter).
- Melissa Segura of SI.com hears that baseball’s upcoming collective bargaining agreement could include a cap in the $2-2.5MM range for international signings (Twitter link). It’s not clear whether the cap would apply to all countries or just the Dominican Republic.
Nationals GM Mike Rizzo told reporters on a conference call that the team will make an announcement about its 2012 manager within a few days. The team has conducted a series of interviews and will presumably announce that Davey Johnson will return to the bench next year. Here are more notes from Rizzo's conference call with:
- The Nationals are indeed expected to make Johnson their manager, according to MLB.com's Bill Ladson.
- The team is corresponding with the representatives for right-hander Chien-Ming Wang, but the sides aren't close to a deal, according to Ladson (on Twitter). They discussed a contract extension earlier in October.
- The Nationals haven't spoken to free agents Ivan Rodriguez or Livan Hernandez since early in the offseason, according to Ben Goessling of MASNsports.com.
- Washington would lose its 16th overall pick for signing a Type A free agent and that's something that Rizzo will factor into the team's decision-making process this offseason.
- Rizzo has not seen Yu Darvish in person in the last two years, according to Goessling. However, the Nationals have scouted the right-hander and it sounds as though they’re open to bidding on him if he’s posted.
- Darvish is on Washington's radar and Nationals scouts have seen him pitch in person at least nine times, Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reported earlier this month.