ESPN’s Jerry Crasnik reported yesterday that free agent left hander C.J. Wilson already has contract offers in hand from the Angels, Marlins, Nationals, and an undisclosed forth team. Today, at the Winter Meetings in Dallas, Wilson and his agent, Bob Garber, will receive a fifth offer; this one from the Texas Rangers.
Rangers GM Jon Daniels has remained non-committal when discussing Wilson, who has spent his entire career with the Rangers. The party line has been that the club would love to have him back, but only at a price they were comfortable with. What that is believed to mean is a contract probably not more than four years, and a salary probably not more than $16 million per year or so.
Given Wilson’s expectations, and his status as the best starting pitcher on the open market, it stands to reason that he will be finding employment elsewhere.
But the Rangers do have enough money and if they are to land a starting pitcher, something Daniels has referred to as a “luxury item”, they seem to be aiming toward a top-of-the-rotation arm.
The general consensus is that Mark Buehrle is a better fit for the Rangers and the confines of the contract they’d like to sign. Buehrle has 11 consecutive 200-inning seasons under his belt, but is still just 18 months older than Wilson. The Rangers (and every other club in baseball) feel they can land Buehrle with a three or four year contract offer and even if the average annual value is similar to Wilson’s, Buehrle would save two contract years, which, of course, mitigates risk much more than a longer deal would.
The Rangers have reportedly already made an offer to Buehrle and former Nationals and Reds GM Jim Bowden has speculated that the first club to offer him four years might land the southpaw. There is also word that Buehrle would require a no-trade clause in his contract. This stipulations should not preclude the Rangers from landing Buehrle, however, as Daniels has given such protection to players in the past, most notably with Michael Young.