Thursday, February 18, 2010

Why Signing Chien-Ming Wang is a good move by the Nationals

So, Chien-Ming Wang just signed with the team formerly known as the Montreal Expos.
While I have been critical about them signing Adam Kennedy over Orlando Hudson and signing Willy Taveras, to a contract, there is a decent chance the Nationals get this signing right.

As a disclaimer, I am fully aware that Wang has been hampered by injuries which could make the following discussion null and void.

One reason I think this is a smart signing is that ghastly 9.64 ERA is highly fluky and there's no way he could pitch that bad for two years in a row. Taking a closer look at his 2009 numbers it looks like he got horribly......horribly....atrociously unlucky last year. Hitters had a .407 BABIP against him. That is 110 points higher than his career total. Whatever comes up must come down and that BABIP should regress to somewhere around that .297 career total (regardless of whether or not he pitches better) which in turn should return his numbers closer to his 2005-2008 totals.

Point being, even if he doesn't pitch any better in 2010, his ERA should drastically improve as a BABIP that off the charts high is not sustainable for the long term. Another reason is he got unlucky with fly balls turning into home runs. While Wang struggled both at home and on the road, getting away from Yankee Stadium should help. Opposing hitters had a 1.091 OPS against him at home. It's clear that he got unlucky with giving him home runs as well as his 1.5 HR/9 innings allowed is twice as high as his previous career high ( and more than three times his totals from 2006 & 2007 when he led the AL in this category).

Also, Wang isn't that old (he'll be 30 by opening day) so I wouldn't write him off as washed out. From his prior body of work, it is clear he knows how to pitch ( outside of 2009, he was an above league average pitcher and as recent as 4 years ago he was second in Cy Young Voting).

My point is don't write of Chien-Ming Wang because the bottom fell out in 2009. He didn't have a bad season because he forgot how to pitch, he had a bad season because he got about as unlucky as a pitcher could be within the scope of 42 innings. The Nationals have made a lot of dumb moves over the year, this move bucks the trend as it is a savvy low-risk high reward move.


  1. So I watched the Celtics play the Kings on Tuesday. I cheered for the Kings, refused to sit down during a big possession for the Kings late in the fourth quarter, and as a result Celtics fans threw a whole bag of popcorn at me. Then I sat down, didn't fight back, and I was salty the rest of the game.

    Two days later, the Kings make a terrible trade and the Celtics trade for a player that I've always liked (not coincidentally because he shares my name) until he started playing for a NY team.

    My sports bigamy makes me sympathize with Kate Austen, which makes me feel awful because Kate Austen is a terrible person. Kings are the girl next door, young, potentially sexy, but also rough around the edges and not yet someone I could commit to living with everyday or spend the rest of my life with. Celtics have been with me since the beginning, but they're getting old and the long-distance thing isn't working too well. They also have fans who are way too drunk and won't shut the hell up even though they have no idea what they're talking about. They're loud and obnoxious all the stereotypes about them are true and if I have to avoid going to Sox games in Oakland for fear that their obnoxiousness will drive me to cheer for the A's all of a sudden. Bewildering and eye-opening experience.

  2. Gut instinct says the Kings while worse off for the season are better off w/o K-Mart in the future. He's definitely talented but the Kings seemed to be in synch with each other better with Tyreke and w/o Martin. If the injury said anything that the future lies with Tyreke.

    Second, Kate Austen isn't a terrible person, she had to do what she had to do to survive. Sure, she robbed a cabbie at gunpoint with a pregnant Claire in there but at the end of the day she gave her a ride and was there for her at the hospital.

    For the long-distance fandom thing, hey it's one of those things that makes it harder but definitely overcomable. I'm pretty sure every team has way too drunk fans and won't shut does suck that this would make it harder to see your team when they roll into Oak-town (but in comparison to the rest of Oakland, i'm pretty sure the drunk fans inside the stadium are relatively harmless)