C.J. Wilson To Visit Angels Monday

By MJ Lloyd

The C.J. Wilson free agency tour spectacular kicks off Monday in Anaheim. The lefty, if not the best pitcher on the market this year, will certainly be the highest paid after this Hot Stove season concludes. The Angels quickly expressed interest in the former Ranger but are only the first stop with close to double digit suitors for his services. Even though the Angels had one of the top rotations in baseball last year, new GM Jerry Dipoto already met with WIlson’s agent, Bob Garber, and confirmed his interest

"“I don’t know that you can ever have enough pitching,” Dipoto said after the meeting with Garber. “When you have an opportunity to sit down and talk with the likes of C.J. Wilson, you at least want to express that level of interest. Clearly he’s been very, very good in recent years, and he’s a guy we do have interest in.”"

I have been openly skeptical about Wilson’s future and doubly so about the contract he will end up signing. Maybe I’m wrong, it has happened once before. But I’d rather not give a 5-year contract to a 31-year-old pitcher with two years of starting experience. Wilson had a career year in 2011 ending the season with 223.1 innings of a 2.94 ERA, 3.24 FIP (fielding independent pitching) and a 8.30 K/9 rate. In fact, since converting to a starter in 2010, Wilson is 9th in fWAR (Fangraphs wins above replacement) behind Jered Weaver and Dan Haren.

Wilson had a rough 2011 post-season compiling a 5.79 ERA and allowing six (6!) home runs over 28 innings. Of course, that small sample will be easily overlooked by most front offices with a need for pitching. I’m not too worried about five rough starts either except it could indicate he was worn down after throwing a career high in innings and only the second (in a row) year that he threw over 200 innings. It makes me nervous going forward that, at 31-years-old, he’ll be able to stay healthy and effective throwing over 200 innings per season.

Bill James is projecting 215.0 innings for 2012 with a 3.31 ERA and 3.41 FIP. Certainly reasonable number for the number three starter in the Halos’ rotation. But at what cost? I already mentioned I’d be hesitant to give out a 5-year contract. If reports are true, it might take 6-years and $120 million. Good luck with that, whoever signs C.J. Wilson. Hey, that sounds familiar