Tuesday, November 15, 2011

CJ Wilson Can Close the West Gap

Texas Rangers ace CJ Wilson is by far the most enticing starting pitching free agent this 2011 offseason. As many as nine teams may be in the running for him...including the Yankees and even his former team, the Rangers. Never count out the Red Sox either. But something truly rare may be forming behind the scenes. Brace yourself...here it comes...

.....The Angels might actually have a legit shot at signing Wilson. And that would mean the first major free agent signing since Torii Hunter signed for 5 years and $90 million in the winter of 2007.

That's right. This is, indeed, the same team that failed to re-sign Mark Teixeira in 2008; the team that claimed to be interested in CC Sabathia and Jake Peavy and ended up with nothing; the team that expressed heavy interest in ace Roy Halladay and got nothing; the team whose owner last offseason proclaimed that he would spend "whatever it takes" to reach the playoffs and ended up letting every top free agent get away.

Want to know what the difference is this time? It's simple. Wilson wants to play here.

Born in Newport Beach and raised in Fountain Valley, CJ Wilson has as much Southern California blood as Angels ace Jered Weaver himself. Having lived in the area for 22 of his 31 years of life, Wilson is most comfortable in the laid-back, sunny atmosphere.

New Angels GM Jerry Dipoto recently met with Wilson's representatives, stating that their interest is "serious." Soon after, Wilson's views on the organization were made public, and he, too, has serious interest in the Halos. Two years ago, this was the man that called the Angels' offense weak, and even questioned their status as the powerhouse in the AL West.

However, perhaps the roots are planted deeper than people think. Wilson may enjoy being a Ranger, but a chance to finally go home and be comfortable must be enticing. If Dipoto can get a deal done, then this AL West is a division to be had. It won't be cheap, though. Maybe as much as 6 years and near $100 million. But it might be worth it.

Not only would the Angels have the best 1-4 starting rotation in the American League, but they would strip the Rangers of a precious commodity: their ace. Yes, the Rangers would still have a far superior offense than the Angels'. But, it is quite difficult to plug a hole in the very top of a team's rotation. They would have to move their closer, Neftali Feliz, into the rotation, and then spend resources to acquire a closer.

If this is the case, then the Angels would have dealt Texas a big blow. Finally. The Rangers are notorious for signing ex-Angels and using them against the team, with great success so far (Vlad Guerrero, Bengie Molina, Darren Oliver, Darren O'day and Mike Napoli). It's time that the Angels finally had their say in the matter, and signing away the Rangers' ace would make a loud statement for sure.

No matter how sporatic the Angels' offense may be, if they had a rotation led by Weaver, Wilson, Dan Haren, and Ervin Santana, multiple runs scored would only be a luxury, not a need. 1, 2 or 3 runs could stand up quite easily with those guys on their A-game. Consistently winning 3 of 5 games translated to 86 wins for Halos in 2011. Winning 4 of every 5 would mean pushing 100 wins.

CJ Wilson is a player that won't bring a lot of unwanted baggage. He doesn't drink alcohol. He doesn't smoke. He doesn't do anything that will harm his body negatively, and he's a true team player, speaking up for his teammates. The only thing he does do, is pitch. And he's done it pretty well the last couple of seasons.

Now, let's tighten that race up, shall we?


  1. Heavily overpaying a pitcher for the sake of possibly "dealing a blow" to the Rangers isn't practical.

    If you firmly believe that signing Wilson to an AAV of $16.66 million is worth it, wouldn't ponying up an extra $7-$8 million for Prince Fielder be worth it as well?

    You made some great points, but I'm merely playing devil's advocate here.

    From my point of view, there are just too many question marks surrounding Wilson.

    He had Tommy John surgery early in his career and was a reliever up until 2010.

    This can be good or bad.

    Was his arm and body more suited to pitching 1/3rd of a starters innings but with more frequent appearances, or is a starter's routine better for his overall longevity?

    He's 30 years old.

    Again, good or bad. This ties in with my previous question.

    Does he have more wear and tear on his arm than a typical starting pitcher at that age, or less?

    Sure, he's posted successful back-to-back seasons, but unfortunately that's too small a sample size to warrant such a massive contract.

    I don't subscribe to the notion that he wore down at the end of the season, subsequently lingering into the playoffs. He dominated his last 5 regular season starts, even if they were against paltry offenses (Angels included).

    With that being said, there's ALWAYS a risk that ANY pitcher can break down at ANY given moment. No one is devoid of injury, not even those who were heralded as perfect mechanically (i.e. Mark Prior and Stephen Strasburg).

    It goes without saying that signing Prince is easier said than done, but it's a far more pressing need than another starter, and would be a far greater statement towards the Rangers than signing Wilson.

  2. CJ already had TJ surgery about 4 years back. He has low mileage on his arm. He won't break down



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