The Nationals held a conference call a few minutes ago to officially announce the signing of Chien-Ming Wang to a one-year deal. Here are a few highlights from what general manager Mike Rizzo had to say:
* The Nationals discussed an option for 2013 with Wang's camp, but Wang and his agent, Alan Nero, wanted to stay away from the option year so that the right-hander would have a chance to get back on the free agent market after a full, healthy season. The two sides also discussed a mutual option, but once that possibility crumbled, Rizzo decided to move forward without the option. "At this price point that we signed him ($4 million plus incentives), a one-year deal was what Chien-Ming wanted," Rizzo said. "I would imagine we'd get the right of first refusal (to sign him for 2013)."
* When Wang does return for the 2012 season, he'll be free of innings limits; the Nationals saw enough in his return from shoulder surgery last year that they're confident he can turn in a full season's worth of work. "He's a veteran horse that we're going to count on," Rizzo said.
"Based on what we saw at the end of the season, he'll come to spring training ready to go. There will be no limitations whatsoever on Chien-Ming."
* Wang coming back doesn't take the Nationals out of the running for another pitcher this winter. As we talked about this morning, the team could still need another reliable pitcher, especially with their top two starters (Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann) being one and two years removed from Tommy John surgery, respectively. "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. That's the type of guy we're looking for."
Like a guy who has done it 11 years in a row, perhaps? Keep Mark Buehrle's name in mind.
* The Nationals like their stable of young pitchers, but Rizzo said he won't be in a rush to trade away arms like Tommy Milone, Brad Peacock or Ross Detwiler this winter as part of a deal to bring back a veteran who can help in another area. "We've got guys that should be pitching in the major leagues and may not be. That's a tribute to our organization," Rizzo said.
Any thoughts on what Rizzo had to say, and how the Nationals' rotation is shaping up? Leave them in the comments section and let me know.