There were reports this season that 31-year-old right-handed sinker-baller Chien-Ming Wang was interested in returning to the Washington Nationals in 2012 after two years in the organization, most of which were spent rehabbing the one-time two-time-19-game winner's surgically-repaired right shoulder. Wang reportedly felt a sense of loyalty to the organization for signing him to one-year deals in 2010 and again in 2011 as he worked his way back. On July 29th, Wang pitched in the majors for the first time since 2009 and threw 4.0 innings against New York in which he surrendered eight hits and six runs, four earned to the Mets. With each start that followed, however, Wang seemed to be gaining confidence in the fact that he was 100% recovered and capable of doing what he'd once been able to on the mound.
According reports tonight, the 6'3'', Taiwanese starter signed a 1-year/$4M deal (pending a physical) that will bring him back to the nation's capital for a third-straight season.
Nats' Skipper Davey Johnson endorsed the idea of bringing Wang back to the Nationals as the season wound down, telling reporters who asked if they thought he should be signed, "No question about it. No question about it," Johnson repeated, "I like the way he's throwing. He's pitching basically around 90 [mph], and look at how the hitters are hitting him. You see where he started out a little rough, but every time out was an improvement."
"If you'd seen him throw in December, and where he is right now, it's just, my hat goes off to him, he worked hard and he's a dominant pitcher. He looks great." Wang finished the 2011 season with a stretch of 23.2 IP in which he didn't allow a walk. Wang was (4-3) in 11 starts in 2011, posting a 4.04 ERA, 4.57 FIP, 3.61 K/9 and just 1.88 BB/9 in 62.2 IP. D.C. GM Mike Rizzo confirmed last week that the two side were still negotiating, though he said then that nothing was imminent. Eighteen hours after Wang officially became a free agent, he's off the market.