Just as MJ Lloyd reported here last week, Free Agent lefty C.J. Wilson is returning to his hometown of Los Angeles today- to visit and engage in serious discussions with the Angels brass regarding a potential move out West. The Angels made no secret of their interest in Wilson during the GM meetings last week in Wisconsin. Jerry Dipoto and Scott Servais were seen wining and dining with Bob Garber, Wilson’s agent, in front of dozens of media members at the Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee. In fact, it was this outwardly public display of courtship that have some columnists speculating as to whether or not Dipoto’s pursuit of Wilson is real, or if it is merely an attempt to drive up C.J.’s asking price as a means of handcuffing the competition down the road, a la Brian Cashman’s handling of the Carl Crawford “sweepstakes” last year.
Dipoto has admitted that the Angels will focus on adding a patient bat, a right handed reliever and address needs at third base and catcher this offseason. Albert Pujols is as patient as they come, but he’s also as pricey, and at (wink) 31 will be more than likely be a huge albatross once he reaches the back end of his upcoming contract.
The 31-year-old Wilson, a product of Loyola Marymount, carries the same buyer-beware tag. The Ranger All-Star has not exactly built up a strong foundation of measurable stats before reaching age 30, made $7.05 million this year and will likely double that as the gem of a slightly-above-average-if-not-underwhelming crop of Free Agent pitchers. Wilson, along with Mark Buehrle and Japan’s Yu Darvish stand to cash in this offseason. Besides Los Angeles and Texas, the Yankees, Blue Jays, Marlins and Nationals have all expressed interest in Wilson. Whoever signs him will do so knowing he will be on the downside of 35 going on 40 by the end of his deal.
“I don’t know if you can ever have too much pitching,” Dipoto said after meeting with Garber. “It’s a 162 game season. If you want to play 163 games and beyond, you’ve got to have a lot of pitching, because it runs out quick.”
Adding Wilson to a staff that already contains Cy Young runner up Jered Weaver, Dan Haren and Ervin Santana would give Anaheim a tremendous 2012 rotation in a pitcher’s park. Placing the southpaw near the top either before or after Haren will offer a different look for opponents in every series. Plus, taking the ace from rival Texas’s staff certainly qualifies as by-proxy addition by subtraction.
“C.J. was a big part of out teams the last two years,” explained Ranger president Nolan Ryan. “With the number of innings he’s given us and the job he’s done, any ballclub is going to miss that if they lose it. Obviously, we have concerns if he goes someplace else. We have to make those innings up. And it’s not just making up innings- but quality innings.” One scenario would be for Texas to move stud closer (pre- David Freese) Neftali Feliz into the starting rotation and for the Rangers to acquire added bullpen depth. However, this may solve one issue while opening two more.
Even if he doesn’t sign with LAA, losing Wilson in Texas certainly helps the Angels pennant hopes in 2012. It’s the years beyond the next that I worry about.