Nationals send Chien-Ming Wang back to bullpen, return Ross Detwiler to rotation

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Three weeks after moving Chien-Ming Wang from the bullpen to the rotation and bumping Ross Detwiler from the rotation to the bullpen the Nationals are reversing that switch.

Wang flopped in four starts, allowing 13 runs in 17.2 innings with more walks (14) than strikeouts (11) and a .364 opponents’ batting average.

Detwiler had a couple rough starts before the demotion, but his 3.88 ERA in nine total starts made the decision an iffy one in the first place and he pitched well as a reliever with a 1.35 ERA in 13.1 innings.

Wang going to the bullpen is more about simply removing him from the rotation, because he’s had issues warming up quickly in the past and is unlikely to be used as more than a mop-up man. Perhaps the Nationals simply aren’t ready to give up on him completely, but relief work seems unlikely to suit him.

The Manny Machado deal was done days before it was actually announced

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Last week as the Manny Machado trade drama was playing out, I and a lot of other people suspected as early as Monday and into Tuesday morning that the Orioles already had a deal in place for Machado and that they were just keeping it under wraps in order to get through the All-Star break (a) without any awkwardness; and (b) with the Orioles still having an All-Star representative. It would be Wednesday morning before the Orioles would make it official.

Turns out we were wrong. Machado was actually traded before Monday morning. Basically anyway, with the Orioles going so far as to pull him out of last Sunday’s game early because of it. And, of course, they lied about it. From Bob Nightengale of USA Today who spoke with Machado following his debut weekend with the Dodgers:

It was a week ago Sunday when Machado homered for the 24th time this season, the Orioles playing the final game of the first half against the Texas Rangers, when he was removed after the fourth inning after a 26-minute rain delay.

The Orioles told reporters after the game it was simply for precaution, making sure Machado didn’t get hurt playing on a wet field.

They may have fibbed to everyone else, but they told Machado the truth.

“That’s when they had told me I had been traded,’’ Machado said. “They said they pretty much had a deal done. They just wanted to wait until after the break to get all of the medical stuff done.

That didn’t stop all of the usual rumor-mongering reporters from tweeting stuff about this or that team “being in the race” or “taking the lead” or three or four teams in the “debry” or “sweepstakes” as it entered “the home stretch.” A bunch of track announcers calling a race that wasn’t even being run.

In the final analysis this is all benign. Teams lie about stuff all the time and a day or two in either direction made no difference to anyone involved. Still, it says a lot about how the trade rumor business works.