The Nationals finally inked Chien-Ming Wang friday afternoon, putting a signature on a deal that could end up giving them their most effective pitcher in 2010. Of course there are a lot of obsticals to still overcome, most notably rehabilitating his arm and finding the sinking action in his fastball. This is what Wang's agent said at the signing yesterday:
"When Chien-Ming became available, the first team we heard from was the Nationals. And shortly after that we started hearing from other teams. There was a total of 15 teams that showed interest right from the beginning. But the process was pretty laborious. Everybody had to do their homework But the Nationals were the most sincere, they were the most aggressive, they were ahead of the pack. They did all of their due diligence and were very confident along the way. And any time you make a decision -- this was a big decision for Chien-Ming -- the spirit of it matters. It's kind of like dating. You don't enter into a relationship unless you feel real good about it. The Nationals seemed to care the most and they seemed to want him the most."
Jeremey Greenhouse of The Hardball Times defends local hero Brady Anderson in his post on THT Live. Greenhouse's article is a respons to Joe Posnanski who wrote a piece claiming there were groups of players that we know used steroids, groups we probably know who did, and groups we know who did not:
"It’s fall of 1996, and Anderson, having realized the magic of performance enhancing drugs, is coming off a 50-homer year. He’s heading into his final year with the Orioles before he hits free agency. But he comes to the decision that he doesn’t want to be remembered as a cheat, so he dramatically throws all his pills and vials into the trash, possibly with the help of an intervention from Zack Morris. So Brady hits 18 homers in 1997, but he does it clean. Or maybe you think that he didn't have a moral renaissance. You just think he wasn't smart enough to realize he could have been the most prolific home run hitter in baseball had he continued down the path of Bonds. Remember, in your world, Barry Bonds was not the greatest player of the 1990s. That was Ken Griffey Jr. Bonds only became great because of the juice. In your world, Saved by the Bell is a go-to television show reference."
I'm not sold either way, but Greenhouse has a great ponit.
In what may be one of the best deals of the late winter, the Cleveland Indians signed first-baseman Russell Branyan. Branyan, who started his career in Cleveland, will get the chance to build upon his resurgent season last year where he hit .251/.347/.520, bashed in 31 home runs (16 coming at SAFECO) and posted a UZR/150 of 2.4. While Branyan is 34, a one-year, $2 million deal is still a good buy. Espessially when you consider the Nationals gave Ivan Rodriguez two-years $6 million.