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Washington Nationals: Ron Villone Signs, Cashman On Chien-Ming Wang...

• I guessed Joe Beimel, but Ron Villone? Why not? The terms weren't immediately disclosed, but it's a minor league deal that will give the 40-year-old, left-handed, 15-year vet an invitation to Spring Training and a chance to compete for a spot on a roster that might not have room for him. When the Jim-Bowden-Built-Bullpen blew up early last season, then-Acting GM Mike Rizzo signed Villone to a minor league deal with's Bill Ladson writing in a story at the time entitled, "Nationals sign left-hander Villone", that he was, " case one of the team's three left-handed relievers -- Michael Hinckley, Wil Ledezma or Joe Beimel -- falters in the bullpen," and less than a month later, in another article by Mr. Ladson entitled, "Nats designate Hinckley, sign Villone", it was announced that, "A day after watching their bullpen implode implode against the Dodgers," the decision was made to bring Villone up from Syracuse to replace lefty Mike Hinckley on the roster.

A 1st Round pick in 1992, taken 14th overall by the Seattle Mariners, Villone's averaged 7.1 K/9 and 4.9 BB/9 over 717 games and 1168.0 IP for 12 different MLB teams. Last year with Washington, Ron Vill0.00ne started strong with 15.0 scoreless innings pitched before he first allowed an earned run to cross. On the season, the then-39-year-old lefty allowed 23 ER (4.25 ERA, 5.25 FIP) and 29 BB (5.4 BB/9) in 48.2 IP in which he K'd 33 (6.1 K/9) and posted a (5-6) record with a 1.71 WHIP. 


• NY GM Brian Cashman On Chien-Ming Wang.

• Balester Goes Gretzky...?


• NY GM Brian Cashman On Chien-Ming Wang.

• A day after LA Dodgers' GM Ned Colletti explained that they were hesistant to commit guaranteed money to free agent righty Chien-Ming Wang because they were uncertain when he would pitch and what he'd have when he returned, NY Yankees' GM Brian Cashman told New York Daily News' writer Anthony McCarron much the same in an article that appeared in the Newark Star-Ledgers' sports section entitled, "Wang to sign deal with Nationals", where Mr. Cashman was quoted stating that the Yankees, "...would've loved to have continued the relationship with Wang, but they were looking for $2 million-$3 million guaranteed and I was unwilling to do that." The Nationals, of course, did sign Wang to a 1-year/$2 million dollar deal with $1 million in incentives for the soon-to-be 30-year-old sinking fastballer to earn should he return to the mound, which his former employer seems certain he will as Mr. Cashman told the NY Daily News writer that Wang, " extremely hard. If anyone is going to come back, he will."

• Balester Goes Gretzky.

In an email interview I conducted with Nationals' right-hander Collin Balester a few weeks back I asked the 23-year-old '04 Expos' 4th Round pick if he was glad to get his #40 back, after he'd given it up to Daniel Cabrera when the veteran "pitcher" signed on in DC last winter, and Balester responded: 

"Yes, not glad that Cabrera left the organization but I am glad I got my first number back. It just feels right for me to wear that number and I want to keep it my whole career."

Well, in case you missed Washington Post writer Dave Sheinin's Spring Training report yesterday at the Post's Nationals Journal entitled, "Panera, Bruney, 99 Problems", "my whole career" ended up being about a month, as Mr. Sheinin pointed out that the mustachioed reliever was once again having his uniform number "poached" by the newest Nationals' pitcher Chien-Ming Wang whose worn it throughout his 5-year career with the Yankees. Mr. Sheinin writes that @ballystar40 is trying to become @ballystar99, requesting the kind of Gretzky/Manny/LA jersey number that has breakout season written all over it...