"The Michael Jordan of Taiwan" said Washington Nationals' general manager Mike Rizzo moments after the team officially announced the signing of RHP Chien-Ming Wang. The 29 year old pitcher agreed to a one-year, $2 million contract, which could earn Wang close to $3 million in incentives. Wang is arbitration eligible after this season (less than 5 years' service) and could possibly help the Nats in 2011.
Wang's 2009 started a disastrous one, posting a 34.50 ERA in just six innings pitched. Before things could get worse, the New York Yankees placed Wang on the DL with "hip weakness" which was believed to be linked to Wang's 2008 season ending foot injury. After returning to the club in late May, Wang was still beaten merciless around the diamond. Finally in early July, he was shut down with ligament damage in his right shoulder, which would require season ending surgery.
Prior to the '08 and '09 injury filled seasons, Wang combined to post a 38-13, 3.67 ERA during the 2006 and 2007 seasons. He has a career 4.16 K/9 ratio along with a career 1.34 WHIP. Wang usually relies on his dominating sinker to retire batters as he has a career 60.1 GB % ratio. While Wang doesn't rack up the strikeouts, he's a manger's dream (when healthy) at getting batters out and keeping the ball in the ballpark.
For fantasy purposes, I've already started fielding questions about the value of Wang in 2010. The quick answer - he has very little value. Remember that Wang is continuing to rehabilitate his shoulder and could pitch sometime in June if everything goes according to plan. IF you are really desperate during the summer months of play and need a cheap arm, he might be worth a look in NL-Only formats. If Wang can stay healthy in 2010 (we say this about every guy, don't we?), I think he'll have value in NL-Only leagues in 2011 if the Nats decide to bring him back for another season.