Nationals manger Davey Johnson did not hold back Wednesday when describing the severity of starter Chien-Ming Wang’s strained left hamstring (via CSNWashington.com’s Nats Insider):
“He’s moving around walking good, but from what I saw today, he’s got quite a bit of blood in there,” Johnson said. “Before he gets on the mound, I’d say three weeks, maybe a month. I’ll have to double-check with the doctor, but I just saw a lot of blood in there.”
Wang is going to play catch on Thursday, but Johnson is suggesting in the quote above that the Taiwanese right-hander won’t be allowed to get back on a mound before the Nats head north for the start of the regular season. Which means Wang is certain to miss his first couple turns in the rotation, and possibly all of April.
John Lannan, who has been on the trading block for most of this spring, appears likely to open the regular season as Washington’s No. 5 starter. He had a 3.70 ERA and 1.46 WHIP in 184 2/3 innings last year.
Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that Major League Baseball has banned all transactions with Liga Mexicana de Beisbol (LMB), popularly known as the Mexican League. As of now, all 30 teams are prohibited from signing players under contract with LMB teams. The ban was issued due to Major League Baseball’s contention that “corruption” and “fraud” run rampant in the player acquisition process.
Passan describes the issues in detail, and they sound pretty compelling. The upshot: LMB clubs — which have full control over their players — are taking advantage of them, taking most if not all of the signing bonuses MLB teams give them after negotiating for their rights. Mexican teams often sign players when they’re 15 years-old so that, once they are old enough for American teams to approach them, they’re in the position to take a usurious cut.
Passan says Major League Baseball is demanding greater transparency from LMB before it’s willing to lift the ban. He also says that the MLBPA is in “lockstep” with Major League Baseball on the matter, which makes sense given that, if MLB’s claims are accurate, players are being exploited here. He also says that if LMB does not change its ways, there is a “Plan B,” though it’s not clear what that is.
There aren’t a ton of Mexican players signed by MLB teams each year, but there are enough to make this a significant issue that is worth watching.