Chien-Ming Wang's signing is now official. And while it may be late May before he's able to start a game in the big leagues, it's one of those gambles with a very high upside.
Speaking with Yankees' broadcaster Ken Singleton last night, Wang's got the kind of work ethic that should translate into success in the NL.
"He'll work his way back, count on that," he said. "And when he's right, he's very tough. His heavy sinker has plus velocity, and they say it's like trying to hit a bowling ball."
Oh, and for everyone out there who keeps trying to make lame jokes regarding Wang's name, to quote Johnny Holliday, "What are you guys, twelve?"
Ross Detwiler's recovery from hip surgery gets his 2010 off to a delayed start. A "labral tear in his right hip." Ouch.
According to some internal sources, Ross started feeling pain in his hip last year, but only recently brought it to the club's attention. His surgery was performed by the same physician who operated on Yankees' third baseman Alex Rodriguez and ex-Nat Mike MacDougal. Detwiler will be able to begin throwing again in about six weeks.
Speaking of MacDougal, I'm guessing he thought going 20-for-21 in save opportunities last year would bring better results than a minir league deal with the Marlins. Mike's a good guy, take my word for it. The offspring of ex-Senators' batboy Tom MacDougal threw harder than any other Washington pitcher of recent memory, a distinction he'll likely lose to Stephen Strasburg before year's end. The issue was the movement of Mike's heater - it moved so much, it frequently ended up out of the strikezone. Walking more men than he struck out spelled his demise in DC.
The Nationals won their arbitration cases with Brian Bruney and Sean Burnett. Players tell me that the process isn't much fun, even when you win. The funny thing about arbitration: it was originally proposed by the owners, who felt they'd never lose. They were wrong on that count, and it's been arbitration results that have largely driven the market.
Ron Villone's return was pleasant news. There's no guarantee he'll make the club, but he was immesely popular with his teammates last year, and having an extra competitor for the last lefty's slot in the bullpen can't hurt.
Last thought: Signing Willy Taveras to a minor league contract was a little curious. It's clear from discussions with club officials that they are very high on Roger Bernadina, who's a superior defender, an equivalent baserunner, and offensively, more likely to reach base than Taveras. He's also 4 years younger. Taveras was much in demand 3-4 years ago; now, not so much. Let's see how this plays out.