Just as was expected, Texas Rangers’ pitcher C.J. Wilson is garnering plenty of attention on the free agent market. As of yesterday, there were as many as six teams known to have interest in the southpaw, who figures to be the most sought-after starter available. Those clubs, the Yankees, Marlins, Nationals, Blue Jays, Angels, and of course, the Rangers, bidding against each other could ensure a contract for Wilson that reaches as many as six years.
Yesterday, Wilson’s agent, Bob Garber, has dinner with the new brass of the Los Angeles Angels; GM Jerry DiPoto and Assistant GM Scott Servais. DiPoto told ESPN’s Jerry Crasnik after the meeting “Obviously we have interest, and we’re hoping C.J. feels the same way.” The LA Times cites a source that calls the Angels’ interest in Wilson “serious.”
While this is the first real, hard, evidence of the free agent process at work with Wilson, it won’t be the last. There are those within the industry that expect Wilson’s stay on the market to be a long one. With as many suitors as he has, and the number could be as many as twice the reported number of teams, Wilson figures to allow the bidding war to wage on for a while. Of course, there is always to possibility that there comes a “Jason Werth-type” offer that causes a quick conclusion to the Wilson saga.
While the Rangers and GM Jon Daniels are certainly staying in touch with Wilson, this has a much different feel than last year’s Cliff Lee courtship. The Rangers went all out to try to retain Lee a year ago, but either they are being significantly more quiet about Wilson this year, or they aren’t pushing quite as hard to keep this particular left hander.
I wouldn’t be surprised if it turns out to be the latter. Wilson will likely command a contract similar to the one Lee Landed in Philadelphia, and I’m not sure the Rangers feel Wilson is near the same caliber pitcher. Nor do I think they should.
Two consecutive World Series trips have built up plenty of goodwill and a lot of extra money in the coffers. The Rangers used the Lee money last year to sign Adrian Beltre. If they don’t retain Wilson, will they direct the money that’s would be Wilson’s to adding yet another bat?