I just watched Chien-Ming Wang’s latest minor-league rehab start on MLB Network and he looked pretty good, throwing eight innings against the Twins’ Triple-A affiliate.
The bad news is that Wang managed only one strikeout, gave up 11 hits, and allowed four runs.
The good news is that recently demoted big leaguer Danny Valencia’s double was the lone extra-base hit and Wang was cruising along until giving up a handful of hits late. And two of the four runs came in after he exited in the ninth inning.
Another positive sign: Wang induced 14 ground-ball outs against a lineup that featured other ex-major leaguers Ben Revere, Sean Burroughs, J.R. Towles, Matt Carson, Pedro Florimon, Clete Thomas, and Rene Tosoni.
Wang was never a strikeout pitcher and at his best always relied on getting tons of grounders, so it was definitely a positive step for the rehabbing right-hander. However, with Ross Detwiler pitching well as the Nationals’ fifth starter there seemingly isn’t any room for Wang in Washington’s excellent rotation.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Pirates will sign reliever Felipe Rivero to a four-year contract extension that includes two club options. The total value of the deal is believed to be $22 million and each club option is worth $10 million.
Rivero, 26, did not come to an agreement with the Pirates to avoid arbitration in his first year of eligibility ahead of last Friday’s deadline. He requested a $2.9 million salary for the 2018 season while the Pirates countered at $2.4 million. This extension will cover all four years of Rivero’s arbitration eligibility and the two club options can cover his first two years of free agency as well.
Rivero was one of baseball’s best relievers last season, finishing with 21 saves, a 1.67 ERA, and an 88/20 K/BB ratio in 75 1/3 innings. The Pirates acquired him from the Nationals along with minor leaguer Taylor Hearn ahead of the 2016 non-waiver trade deadline in the Mark Melancon deal.
Presumably, Rivero’s extension was in the works before he knew anything about the Andrew McCutchen trade. He made a couple of tweets following this afternoon’s news. In one, he used only the “facepalm” emoji. The other was a .gif of The Office character Jim Halpert yelling, “What is going on?”