Nationals, Chien-Ming Wang in talks for contract extension

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The Nationals were very patient while Chien-Ming Wang rehabbed from shoulder surgery. And now that he’s back in the big leagues, it appears they are working to keep him in the fold for 2012.

According to Bill Ladson of MLB.com, Wang’s agent Alan Nero said the two sides are in the “preliminary stages” of negotiations about a contract extension.

Wang re-signed with the Nationals last winter, inking an incentive-laden one-year, $1 million contract. Entering play this afternoon, the 32-year-old right-hander has a 4.31 ERA and 21/13 K/BB ratio in 56 1/3 innings over 10 starts since returning in late-July. He hasn’t walked a batter in each of his last three starts. The sinkerballer has a ground ball rate of 53.4 percent this season, which is almost exactly where he was when he last appeared in the majors in 2009.

Rays trade Jake Odorizzi to Twins

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The Rays have traded right-hander Jake Odorizzi to the Twins, per team announcements on Saturday evening. The Twins will receive minor league shortstop Jermaine Palacios in the deal. Despite previous speculation, recently-DFA’d outfielder Corey Dickerson was not included in the trade.

With Odorizzi, the Twins finally have the front-end starter they’ve been seeking all winter. It’s a bargain deal as well, as the 27-year-old righty is under contract through 2019 and didn’t require the club to part with any of their top-shelf prospects in the trade. Odorizzi will be looking to stage a comeback in 2018 after a dismal performance with the Rays last year, during which he eked out a career-worst 4.14 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 8.0 SO/9 through 143 1/3 innings.

Palacios, 21, ranked no. 27 in the Twins’ system last season. He split his year between Single-A Cedar Rapids and High-A Fort Myers, raking a combined .296/.333/.454 with 13 home runs and 20 stolen bases in 539 plate appearances. He’s expected to continue developing at shortstop, though he’s also seen limited time at second and third base during his four-year career in the minors.